Service Members Share Day Off With Kids of DYA

Service Members Share Day Off With Kids of DYA

LCpl Juan Vasquez jumps for a layup Oct. 4 during Forager Fury III. He is one of nine service members who visited the facility's clientele to play sports with offer mentorship. Vasquez is a ground radio repairman with Marine Tactical Air Command 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Photo by LCpl Tyler Ngiraswei.

GUAM YOUTH CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, MANGILAO, Guam (Oct. 4, 2014) – Five Marines and four sailors visited inmates of the Guam Department of Youth Affairs Oct. 4 during Forager Fury III.

The DYA is a youth corrections agency that handles children who have committed criminal offenses. The agency provides care, custody, rehabilitation, education, counseling and vocational service to the youth to help them become law abiding citizens. 

"The Marines and sailors played volleyball, basketball and mentored some of the kids that weren't able to come out of their dormitory," said William N. Castro, the acting superintendent of DYA.

It was good for the kids to have the Marines and sailors talk to them, share their experiences, their wisdom and to have fun, according to Cmdr Bob Vance, a chaplain with Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

"The mentorship showed the kids some people who grew up with similar struggles could result in a different outcome," said Castro, from Talofofo, Guam. "It is all a matter of decision."

The Marines and sailors were not ordered to visit the children at DYA, they volunteered to attend because they wanted to help the children.

After the kids and service members were done with the morning's activities, they gathered in the correctional facility's cafeteria where they shared a meal and talked to the children.

"We wanted to be able to mentor the youth here in the correctional facility to try to help them have a positive role model. If they work hard and study hard, they can change their direction in life," said Vance, from Las Vegas, Nevada. "Everybody can use a second chance and some of these kids come from disadvantaged homes and it was important to show them if they wanted to change, they could. We came here to show them a different alternative of where they are headed now and where they could be going."

The visit will probably not change the kids' minds now, according to Castro. If they continue to reinforce the idea of changing their ways and showing the different opportunities they have in life, it might help them.

The Marines and sailors left the correctional facility with a sense of accomplishment and hopes of having an impact on the children's lives.

"I hope this gave them hope," said Vance. "Not to think that they only have one path, but that they can choose to make their own."

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