NEWS | Oct. 31, 2007

ARFOR Kid’s Day a blast for both kids, volunteers

By Staff Sgt. Austin M. May Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs

Approximately 80 children from the Hogar Tierra Santa Orphanage in Comayagua were treated to games, swimming, a movie and lunch during the Army Forces Kid's Day here Oct. 27.

Army Spc. Diana Schultz, who helped plan and execute the event, said approximately 40 servicemembers came out to volunteer their Saturday making sure the kids had the best time possible.

"We had many people who helped out in so many ways," she said. "It was great."

Specialist Schultz said the games provided were similar to carnival games, including throwing darts, tossing a ball to knock over bottles, playing tug of war and others.

At any given time during the day, Soldiers and Airmen could be seen teaming up with the children and going head-to-head in bouts of basketball, soccer or football. In one game, contestants tied a balloon to their ankles and ran around trying to pop the other players' balloons.

Army Sgt. Oscar Rivera, a Spanish-speaking volunteer, said it was fun being able to talk with the kids.

Sergeant Rivera said he has visited Hogar Tierra Santa Orphanage to play with the kids in the past, but noticed a difference in their behavior while they were on Soto Cano.

"I think this was more fun for them than when we visit the orphanage," he said.

Sergeant Rivera said he believes the children weren't the only ones who got something out of Kid's Day.

"It was really fun for everyone who worked it," he said. "Everyone took something positive from the experience. It was great getting to see their smiles."

Another volunteer, Army Sgt. Pete Schaffer, said he wishes events like this could be done more often. "I just love kids," he said. "I'm a big kid myself."

Sergeant Schaffer has made several trips to the orphanage, but this was his first Kid's Day. He said conditions there are tough, and just being able to get away for a little while was something the kids really enjoyed.

"Their clothes are 'hand me downs' that keep getting handed down until they can no longer be worn," he explained.

ARFOR Soldiers and Airmen visit the orphanage twice a month and provide support to 150 children ranging in age from 1 to 18 years old. ARFOR has been supporting this orphanage since 1997, providing food, milk, clothing, toys, and medical supplies.

Also, once a month, ARFOR personnel provides the orphanage with 32,000 gallons of fresh water and conducts minor construction projects on the buildings, paints and landscapes.