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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

HqBn. adopts Ditmar Elementary ;

By Pvt. Danielle M. Jenkins | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | May 18, 2000

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Begins its relationship with adopted Ditmar Elementary School today at 9 a.m. on school grounds, adding to the list of area schools that have forged relationships with Camp Pendleton units.

Ditmar becomes the eighth school and the second off-base school to be adopted officially by a Camp Pendleton unit. Adoption entails a cooperative relationship whereby Marines serve as positive role models while helping children with their schoolwork and physical fitness in support of teachers.

Division needs volunteers to help brighten the future of kindergarten through fifth grade students in the Oceanside school, which has 680 students and 63 teachers, according to school staff.

The adoption of Ditmar reflects Division?s desire to give back to the community, said Maj. Hector Marcayda, the battalion?s executive officer.

An initial call for volunteers was made April 25. A meeting was held April 27 at the Camp Margarita Chapel for Marines looking to help.

Marine volunteers will help with subjects such as math and science or with physical education. Marines will help in the classroom once a week. Depending on the number of volunteers, they will continue helping out through summer.

"We looked for a school where the teachers were in need of help. At Ditmar, they are just as open to having us as we are to helping them," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Melody Goodwin, HqBn. chaplain.

At least one volunteer has related experience. "During high school, I was in a program where we volunteered to help kids who had been neglected and abused," said Cpl. Pedro Aquino with HqBn.?s Maintenance Management Office.

"When I went to volunteer, I thought that I would be there for a few months, but I ended up staying for four years."

Headquarters Bn. Marines who want to help can call 725-8767.

The Adopt-A-School program was created in response to a 1985 Department of the Navy directive that organizations should work to assist American youth in maximizing their excellence in education, health and fitness and citizenship."

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