SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- Pacific Partnership 2012 volunteers helped paint a brighter future for M'lop Tapang Children's Center Aug. 6 during a community service project.
During the project, volunteers painted picnic tables and the auditorium of the school while interacting and playing with the children.
"This was a great way for us to show we care, but more than that, it's a great way to interact," said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy May, one of the event coordinators.
"It kind of leveled-out the playing field because language didn't matter," he said. "Everyone can grab a paintbrush and help, so it was a great way to come together and interact."
The children's center director, Eve Saosarin, said the center is a place where children can come off the streets for a better, safer life.
"This center needs to be proud to attract children from the streets," he said, "So a lot of bright colors and a good environment helps bring them here so they can get a good education, a place to sleep, and food instead of being on the street."
While at children's center, where more than 300 children every day attend, volunteers got a unique chance to interact with the children by painting and playing with them.
May said this is a way for PP12 to make an impact on the community in a different way.
"It creates a trust and partnership," he said. "For me, being able to come down to the same level as someone else and play is the whole mission. They loved having us here and loved playing with us and always had big smiles on their faces."
Community service projects are one of the foundations of PP12 by bringing individuals from the mission together with the community to help build relationships that will last for years to come.
Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.
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