Sailors donate time and bikes to the Shunko Gakuen Orphanage in Yokosuka
Children from the Shunko Gakuen Orphanage pose for a photo with Sailors and guests on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a tour of the ship. The orphanage supports 69 children between 2 and 18 years old. Ronald Reagan provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan McFarlane/Released)
By Tina C. Stillions, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs

The First Class Petty Officers Association (FCPOA) from Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Yokosuka brought a little joy and hope into the lives of children at the Shunko Gakuen Boys and Girls Home March 29.

The FCPOA Sailors delivered 15 bikes, various sports items and an assortment of toys to the children during their quarterly visit to the orphanage.

“Not many people visit us,” said nine-year-old Misaki who just started the fourth grade. “I’m very excited and happy they are here.”

The Sailors spent the morning interacting, playing and riding bikes with the children. Shunko Gakuen is home to 57 children either placed there due to the negligence of a caretaker or dropped off because a parent could no longer afford to support them.

“The children really enjoy the interaction with the Sailors,” said Shuichi Koyama, vice president of the children’s home. “Not every parent comes to visit, so for the children to have visitors is very special. It makes my heart full to see it.”

Koyama has been working with Shunko Gakuen for 30 years and said it is the only orphanage left of its kind in Yokosuka. Most are becoming home-sized with just a few children placed at each location.

Petty Officer David Medel said he has visited the orphanage several times with his own children.

“Every so often, my wife and I will bring our kids here to play on the weekends,” said Medel. “It keeps them engaged in something that’s meaningful and helps out those who are less fortunate.”

Shunko Gakuen has a long history of helping children. After World War II, many people were displaced and sent back to the Yokosuka area. Children who had lost parents and were not adopted ended up with nowhere to go.

The Yokosuka Rinjinkai foundation was formed to provide child welfare services for those orphaned by war. In 2015, the organization celebrated its 70th anniversary.

The FCPOA regularly participates in community relations activities throughout Yokosuka. These types of events are undertaken to promote cultural exchange and greater appreciation, respect and goodwill between U.S. Navy personnel and various organizations in Japan.

In service to their community as well as their country, the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Sailors who comprise the FCPOA continue to make positive strides through their individual volunteerism and group activities such as their visit to the Shunko Gakuen Boys and Girls Home.

NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, one of eight fleet logistics centers under NAVSUP Global Logistics Support (GLS), is the western Pacific region’s largest U.S. Navy logistics command. Headquartered just 26 miles south of Tokyo, the enterprise networks more than 20 sites from Misawa, Japan, to Sydney, Australia; Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to Guam with a mission to deliver supply and logistics solutions which enable deployed maritime warfighter readiness in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

NAVSUP GLS provides global logistics for a global Navy. The organization is made up of approximately 6,300 military and civilian logistics professionals operating from 105 locations worldwide, providing an extensive array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy, Marine Corps, joint operational units, and allied forces across all warfare enterprises.

NAVSUP provides U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality-of-life issues for naval forces including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.