10th RSG soldiers bring smiles and laughter by teaching English
YOMITAN, Okinawa, Japan -- For three years now Soldiers from the 10th Regional Support Group have graciously volunteered to help Japanese students learn basic English language skills at the Sobe Ward Community Center Summer English Program. Classes are held five times a week during their summer vacation from July to August.
These types of programs are critical as it helps students to become acclimated academically, socially, and culturally. The program is designed to build self-esteem and promote the development of a positive self-image by obtaining hands on experience with American Soldiers assigned to this island. During the one hour session, students participating communicate in both English and their native languages to increase their vocabularies and broaden their experiences.
Yumiko Uchima, a community relations officer for Unites States Army Garrison, started the program two years ago with the hope of providing a way to allow Torii-based Soldiers to give back to their local community and build friendships with the people of Yomitan.
This program has truly impacted the community to the point that, “Now Toguchi Ward also wants to have the English Program. This program has a good reputation within the local community. One kid told me that even though the summer school program is only a month long; its impact will stay in his heart forever. I believe it makes a difference and sometimes the little things you do always actually matter,” said Uchima.
“The students were very adorable and I truly enjoyed working with them. This program allows the children to open their minds about other cultures and languages,” said Spec. Angela Smith, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 10th RSG who had the opportunity to teach English on July 31st alongside Staff Sgt. Carlos Pagan, chaplain’s assistant , 10th RSG.
The Sobe Ward Chief, Norihiko Ikehara also explained the importance of this program to his community. “This program has been extremely helpful and we are glad to have this program for the third year. The students are very much excited and are very interested in learning English.”