U.S. Marines and Sailors from CLB-31 host Easter Celebration for children with physical and cognitive disabilities at USO Camp Hansen

U.S. Marines and Sailors from CLB-31 host Easter Celebration for children with physical and cognitive disabilities at USO Camp Hansen

by Cheryl Bare, USO Hansen Center Manager
USO Okinawa

Okinawa, Japan, Camp Hansen: U.S. Marines and Sailors from Combat Logistics Battalion 31 (CLB-31) hosted an Easter Celebration, including an egg hunt, games, and barbeque for children with physical and cognitive disabilities from local daycare facilities. The event was held on April 15, 2023, at the USO Camp Hansen; attendees included guests from Life Is Beautiful and Challenge Daycare and eight local students from the Nikkei Business School in Okinawa City. The event was organized to provide a fun and engaging experience for children with special needs and showcase the Marines and Sailors’ commitment to supporting their local community. 

The event was hugely successful, as children were delighted with diverse activities and delicious food. Mr. Atsushi Sashida, Director of Life Is Beautiful and Challenge Daycare expressed his gratitude to the Marines and Sailors of CLB-31 and USO staff and volunteers for hosting the event and providing a fun-filled day for the children and staff. “Today was a great opportunity for all of us to visit Camp Hansen for the first time in the last three years,” said Sashida. “We are grateful for all the activities and food for our children and staff. Hansen USO has been a great venue for exchange programs involving local residents, and the staff is always welcoming, supportive, and hospitable.”

The USO came through quickly, bolstering the event's success with its hospitable venue and highly responsive staff. When deciding to move the event indoors at the last minute due to inclement weather, the USO quickly stepped up and offered their center, complete with a grill, ping-pong tables, and even a gaming room. Their support helped ensure that the event went off without a hitch. The Marines and Sailors of CLB-31 expressed their appreciation for the USO's support and the role it plays in their lives as a morale booster.

Corporal Kiani Cooks, one of the Marines of CLB-31 volunteering at the event, commented: “It was a pleasure to spend the day with kids from Life is Beautiful and Challenge. They are very energetic and very kind. We have not been able to do a volunteer event like this one in years, and being the first group to bring them back means a lot. We look forward to doing more events like this one.”

The Easter celebration hosted by the Marines and Sailors of CLB-31 brought immense joy to the children and staff of local daycare facilities. Despite the last-minute weather glitch, the event was a grand success, thanks in no small part to the Marines and Sailors of CLB-31 and USO's unwavering support and hospitality. Community Relations events allow Marines and Sailors to meaningfully interact with their community and create a heartwarming experience for all involved. “Providing support in our centers daily is extremely rewarding to our USO staff and volunteers. It helps us keep our service members connected to family, home, and country,” said J. Phil VanEtten, USO Okinawa Area Director. “When we support a Community Relations event like this one, it brings a warmth to your heart that cannot be explained in words, and that feeling urges you to volunteer even more. A special thanks to everyone who helped create and support this wonderful program!”

 The USO Camp Hansen staff is excited about developing new opportunities to support our military service members and to give back to our local community.

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