NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sea service members had a wonderful opportunity to participate in Project Hope at Time Square Church in Manhattan as part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY), May 28.
The annual event paired Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen with homeless children between the ages of 6-14 who live in a family shelter in the Bronx.
"We started this (Project Hope) about 10 years ago as a way to reach out while the sea service men and women were in town for Fleet Week," said Dr. William Butler, a physician and volunteer coordinator for Military Ministry. "That's when we came up with the idea of a community service project."
Service members in attendance were invited to watch the Kids Praise Choir of TSC perform. Afterwards, children were able to have a question-and-answer session with a member from each branch of service.
"We don't know their backgrounds," said Marine Inspector Lt. Gary George, assigned to Coast Guard Sector New York. "This is something that's different for them and their normal daily routine. This isn't about us; it's about the kids here and making the most of the day, so maybe they'll have a memorable experience."
Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Kailee Gulley, assigned to USS Bataan (LHD 5) hopes the visit will leave a lasting and positive impression on the children.
"I know what it's like to not have a home when you're so young and impressionable," said Gulley. "To have that one person in your life that you're going remember can inspire you to be something greater than what you've been given. That's the ultimate blessing."
Butler echoed the sentiment and feels the interaction also brings the children hope for the future.
"It was a wonderful chance to give these children an opportunity to meet somebody in uniform that has really done something significant in their lives for the good of other people," said Butler. "(The event) brings them hope that they can do something really positive with their lives."
FWNY, now in its 28th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity to for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.
For up-to-date information on all Fleet Week events, visit the official Fleet Week New York website at http://www.fleetweeknewyork.com/, "Like" FleetWeekNewYork on Facebook, and "Follow" @FleetWeekNYC on Twitter. Fleet Week New York photos can be viewed on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/fleetweeknyc/ and Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fwynpao/. Join the conversation on social media by using #FleetWeekNYC.
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For more news from Commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cnrma/.