PMRF Sailors become ‘Reading Buddies’

Pacific Missile Range Facility Sailors visit Kekaha Elementary School students Nov. 3 to take part in “Reading Buddies.” Photo by MC2 Omar Powell

Pacific Missile Range Facility Public Affairs

Sailors assigned to Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) visited Kekaha Elementary School on Nov. 3 to take part in “Reading Buddies,” a new community project spearheaded by the Keiki to Career (K2C) Leadership Council on Kauai.

Reading Buddies is designed to help raise literacy levels among younger students and is being launched from Kekaha Elementary School.

Marion Paul, K2C coordinator, said that the council is working to create a brighter future for all island youth and their goal is to demonstrate the effective power of the community working together to improve the reading scores at Kekaha Elementary School.

A critical indicator of a child’s future success is their ability to read well by the end of third grade. Before the third grade, students are learning how to read. After the third grade, they use reading to learn. Students who cannot comprehend what they are reading by the third grade fall behind in every subject and consistently underperform. This can lead to frustration and a sense of failure and students are four times less likely to graduate high school, and unlikely to succeed economically, Paul said.

PMRF Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Miguel Barerra, who volunteered as a Reading Buddy, said, “It was an incredible experience and the kids seemed so excited to have us there. In-between books they would ask us about our jobs and how often we saved the day. Taking part in this project is so important. It really shows the kids how much we care.”

Paul and Marilyn Asahi, principal of Kekaha Elementary School, thanked the Sailors for taking part.

“We could not do reading buddies without them. For them to come and help these little kids is just the most heartwarming thing that you could ever imagine,” Paul said.

“Thank you to the Sailors of PMRF. We couldn’t do this. Our kids just love it. Thank you so much for all of your support and supporting literacy at Kekaha Elementary School,” Asahi said.

Located on the West side of Kauai, PMRF takes an active role in giving back to the community through participation in community service projects, school and youth sports initiatives and volunteer opportunities such as this.

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Category: News