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Building Buddies visit SK school

Navy Seabees teach children how to assemble a wooden chest as part of the Building Buddies Program at East Port Orchard Elementary. - Maebel Tinoko Photo
Navy Seabees teach children how to assemble a wooden chest as part of the Building Buddies Program at East Port Orchard Elementary.
— image credit: Maebel Tinoko Photo

Seabees assigned to Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s Self-Help Department volunteered last week to teach students at East Port Orchard Elementary School how to build furniture.

The children learned how to make a handcrafted chest with wooden parts supplied by the Navy’s Personal Excellence through Cooperative Education (PECE) Program, which brings commands and schools together as a way to provide positive mentorship to the children with a new program called “Building Buddies.”

According to Chief Construction Electrician Mark Thresher, Building Buddies coordinator, volunteering is a rewarding experience.

“The students here love learning something new and they get to take a souvenir home to show their families what they created,” he said. “This creative activity helps children develop teamwork and learn basic building skills.”

Building Buddies is a mentorship program that provides students with innovative and constructive activities during school. Before any construction project begins, safety is strongly emphasized and children are educated about proper use of tools.

Sailors pre-cut wood pieces and showed step-by-step how to assemble parts together. After their projects were complete, participants finished off their project by staining the natural wooden chest set.

According to Builder 1st Class Gabe Marrero, a volunteer from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Building Buddies is a very beneficial program for the students.

“I enjoy teaching children a new skill and it’s great to see their faces light up when they accomplish a project,” said Marrero. “These projects help expand a child’s mind and give them artistic activities to do.“

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