Korean pumpkins, American candy calls for Halloween celebration
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Volunteers from the 51st Fighter Wing Staff Agencies and the 51st Comptroller Squadron used their everyday language as a bridge to another culture, Oct. 25.
The volunteers have been donating their off-duty time on similar trips to teach children at the Changdang Middle School in Osan City how to speak English.
It all started out as a request from Suhyon Siewert, 51st FW SA and 51st CPTS deputy commander, to sponsor English lessons for a local school. This turned into the first ever ongoing volunteer event sponsored by the 51st CPTS.
"It initially took four volunteers to get this program started, however, it ended with me to continue to seek out available schools and maintain interest among Wing Staff and CPTS personnel," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Goodman, 51st FW commander executive administrator.
The number of volunteers has been so great that volunteers have been rotating so they can each have a chance to visit the school for two hours of one- on-one tutoring with students aged 12 to 13.
This was the group's third visit to the middle school.
Volunteers, do not see the language as a barrier, instead they play, talk, and hand out candy to the students. They cover such things as sentence structure and discuss various topics.
"We had so much fun that no one seemed to notice the bell," said Tech. Sgt. Seo Felix, 51st CPTS budget analyst. "Everyone kept working on carving their pumpkins through recess."
The Oct. 25 visit centered around Halloween and involved pumpkin carving and talking about related vocabulary.
"I really enjoyed volunteering," Goodman said. "I was nervous at first, since I had never stood in front of a Korean class to teach English or speak about our traditions. After a while, I was amazed at how well the kids interacted and enjoyed our company. I'm looking forward to coming back to teach!"
Anyone interested in volunteering for future trips should contact Capt. Tamara Fischer-Carter, 51st FW chief of Public Affairs, at Tamara.Fischer-Carter@us.af.mil, or Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.