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Cpl. Joseph Bishop [right], an ammunition chief and volunteer from Headquarters Battalion, shows the children of Joshua Tree Elementary School the finer points of swinging at the school's playground Sept. 14, 2011. The Marines were there as part of the Adopt-a-School program where the unit could interact with schools in the local community.

Photo by Lance Cpl. D.J. Wu

HQBN back-to-school with Adopt-a-School program

16 Sep 2011 | Lance Cpl. D.J. Wu

Marines with the Combat Center’s Headquarters Battalion finally got a recess day Sep. 14, 2011, when they went back to school to play and interact with the children of Joshua Tree Elementary School.

HQBN is the first of several units aboard the installation to volunteer at Joshua Tree Elementary School as part of the Adopt-a-School program. The program connects the Combat Center with schools in the surrounding area.

The program also allows Marines to give back to their community.

“We’re all one big community here in the Morongo Basin,” said Kristina Becker, the community relations officer at the Combat Center. “The program allows Marines to go out and interact with the local community and the young children in the area.”

The Marines went to Joshua Tree to help the children with sports and play with them during the school’s recess periods.

“I looked forward to showing the kids how to play football, because that’s what I’m good at,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Baker, a postal clerk in HQBN.

The elementary school children spend their daily 15-minute recesses and 10-minute breaks before lunch outside in the school’s playground area. There, the Marines play with the kids twice a month and bring a little more structure into the kid’s play time.

Both the Marines and children enjoyed their time together. They played games of football, basketball and dodgeball, as well as other playground activities. The Marines got the chance to interact with children of all grades though the elementary school.

As each grade cycled in and out of their recess time, the Marines were in the school’s recess area awaiting the next wave of children to play with. Baker, a Walstonburg, N.C. native said, “It’s hard to keep up with some of these kids. They just have so much energy.”

The Marines with HQBN are scheduled to go back to Joshua Tree and play with the children Sept. 28. In the following months, Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School and the Combat Center Band will also volunteer their time at Joshua Tree Elementary.

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