SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (NNS) -- Service members from High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift volunteered at Escuela Rafaela Santaella, Nov. 18.
The community relations event was part of a three-week project run by Seabees from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 23 as part of HSV - Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12).
The 17 Swift volunteers worked with parents, teachers, and students to paint buildings and clean the school grounds.
"It is great to see everyone here working together to make the school better," said Josefine Paulina, principal of Escuela Rafaela Santaella. "I put so much of my passion into this school, and it great to see that passion in the volunteers here."
The improvements will affect the 1,600 students who attend the primary school, as well as the 500 evening and adult-learning students.
"The kids love the Navy guys so much, we have to tell them to move away so that the guys can get their work done," said Paulina.
Crewmembers from Swift spent the day repainting the school buildings and the basketball courts and landscaping.
"The military detachment aboard Swift spends a lot of time working on the planning for HSV - Southern Partnership Station," said Lt. Ben Towers, operations officer, Swift Gold Crew. "It was great to get out there and see the kids and the impact our planning has on the community."
Seabees worked at the site for two weeks prior to the community service event, completing electrical, structural and plumbing repairs. Their specialized skills facilitated repairs to classroom lighting, storm drains, and masonry around the school.
"It's great to see the kids, teachers and parents working with the service members," said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HSV-SPS 12 mission commander. "I think it shows what people can really accomplish when they have a common goal and work together."
The project is scheduled to continue for another week and will conclude with a presentation by the Seabees to the school.
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with partner nation service members and civilians in the region.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more information, visit www.public.navy.mil/comusnavso-c4f, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.