NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) volunteered at Centro Laila during a scheduled port visit to Naples, Italy, Oct. 17.
Centro Laila was started 28 years ago by the parents of Gisele Luciano, the center's current director.
It began when the Lucianos provided a single child with food and shelter because they wanted to help do something positive for the community. The organization grew to 43 children who they now provide with food, shelter, schooling and medical care.
Sailors and Marines helped by clearing brush, sweeping the grounds and painting fences. They also spent time with the children playing games and helping to serve food during lunch.
As a family-run organization, the operators of Centro Laila said they feel fortunate they have been able to accomplish so much on their own, but insist that without the help of volunteers, it would be a daunting, almost impossible, task.
"We need volunteers," said Luciano. "Luckily we are a family, so we all help each other out, but we still need help from outside people. We are very happy to have Sailors and Marines to come and do the hard work for us."
The spirit of the community outreach was evidenced by the hard work of the people who volunteered their time to help those they didn't know.
"We always say we are the ambassadors for the United States," said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Redor Rufo, U.S. 6th Fleet community relations coordinator, "so whatever we do for the country that hosts us makes a big impact. This is a prime example of the positive relationship between the United States and the Italian government."
It's more than just representing a nation. Beneath the surface, at the heart of the project, are people like Lt. Cmdr. Claude Taylor, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department assistant maintenance officer, who do this out of a sense of pride and personal fulfillment.
"This gives us an opportunity to give back to the community, whether it is our community or another country's. I just enjoy doing the work and spending time with the Sailors," said Taylor. "Every time I come out to one of these projects and see the amount of work they put in, it makes me feel good about how our Sailors and Marines are doing and the work that we do for everyone worldwide."
Giving back to any community certainly involves, work but the rewards are priceless
"Thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody because it's important for us," said Luciano. "Maybe you think it's a little thing to be here and help clean up or paint, but for us it's the little things all together that make all the difference to us and these children."
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