Marine Corps students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) are giving back to the local community through a Marine led student-mentoring program.
The Motivating Others Through Outreach (MOTO) program is the brainchild of Marine Corps Capt. Kimberly Julka whom, with her team of fellow Marines, are partnering with Central Coast High School to reach out to local teens.
“Upon arriving in Monterey, I began searching for a way to give back to the people who have, and continue to show the military and their families unwavering support,” said Julka. “MOTO is only one opportunity that we as students at NPS can use to contribute positively to the lives of local youth.”
NPS Senior Marine Corps Representative Col. Mitchell McCarthy credits Julka with the program and its apparent success.
“Capt. Julka is a force of nature,” said McCarthy. “Everything she does, she does big. That is our hope for this program, we hope it will start out small and continue to grow and make a lasting impact upon the community.”
Central Coast High School Assistant Principal Manuel Nunez has high hopes for the program as well.
“We are excited to partner with a prestigious professional organization like NPS … We appreciate their great efforts to reach out to the community,” said Nunez. “We are excited to see the results of the relationships being built – there’s so much potential.”
Assistant Superintendent for Educational Options Kevin McClelland is also hopeful.
“MOTO has exceeded all expectations … The dedication and enthusiasm shown by the volunteers is reflected positively in the students attitudes," said McClellan "We are establishing a great platform from which we can build on for the next school year.”
MOTO members received specialized training from University of Phoenix Professor Sheila Babendir before meeting with students. Babendir offered insights into the complexities of working with at-risk youth and trained the Marines to build and sustain healthy student-mentor relationships.
“The MOTO program is a brilliant way to connect military officers, who have already been successful in life, with a group of teens that need help to find the motivation, self-respect and self-confidence necessary to grow into productive adults,” said Babendir. “The MOTO program creates a union between military officers and youth who have a high degree of need for extra time and attention.”