By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik
REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE (June 26, 2014) – Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) volunteered for a community relations (COMREL) project with the Andrew and Grace (AG) Home, June 26.
Participants from the event, made up of teenage girls from 12-19, played basketball, volleyball and soccer with Sailors at the Sembawang Naval Base.
“We have played many times with groups from the U.S. Navy, but this is a new group of girls who are really looking forward to the event,” said Devi Shandar, the program executive for AG Home.
AG Home’s mission is to reach out to troubled youths and families and provide them with a temporary place of refuge in order to restore, renew and revive lives. Pastor Andrew Choo established the home with his wife, Grace, in 1998 for teenage girls who are struggling with issues such as psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
“This is a good event to let the girls see there are people who have their own challenges and that there are people who care about them,” said Shandar. “They are shy and the interaction with the Sailors brings them out of their shell and lets them express themselves.”
The AG Home also welcomes children who lack adequate family support and are without a home. It can provide care services for up to 60 girls.
“Given the backgrounds of these girls, I hope that our interaction today gives them a new perspective on how people can be as a whole,” said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dijan Thomas, from Dallas. “It was great to get out, meet native people and do something good for people who have been through a lot. This is my first COMREL and I plan on doing a lot more after today.”
COMRELs were established by the Department of Defense in order to foster and further good relations with communities around the world. They help to earn public support and understanding of operations, missions and requirements of the Military Services, and to increase understanding of U.S. defense posture and capabilities by increasing public exposure.