CONTRIBUTED BY KARA PIERACCINI
When I moved to Okinawa, I had grand ideas of getting a job. Seven months, a handful of interviews, and no luck later, I was ready for just about anything to have some adult interaction outside of my house.
My husband had asked our FRO (Family Readiness Officer) for any information, and she mentioned the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. I wasn’t overly excited about volunteering. In my mind, volunteering somewhere meant doing the menial jobs that no one else wanted to do. I didn’t want that; I wanted to do something worthwhile. When my FRO said they reimbursed for childcare expenses, I was sold, no matter what the job!
When I first went to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, I was surprised by how friendly everyone was. They were happy to talk to me and more than welcoming! Even better, their volunteers do a lot of the hands-on work with clients, assisting them with their needs. Two years later, I’m still friends with everyone. This group of people became my support network when my husband deployed, provided wonderful friendships, and gave me meaningful work to do.
If you are unfamiliar with NMCRS, they are a private, non-profit organization that provides financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans to Marines and Sailors. As a volunteer, you can do a few different things.
- Client Service Assistant – A CSA provides receptionist duties, as well as basic loans.
- Caseworker – A caseworker completes loans of all degrees and budget counseling.
- Public Speaking
- Coupon Sorters – NMCRS receives expired coupons from the states. They are sorted and given to anyone who wants them for use at the commissary (coupons are good here for six months after expiration date).
- Knitters/Crocheters – The NMCRS provides handmade baby blankets in the layettes given out at the Budget for Baby classes. This can be done on your time at home.
Childcare expenses and mileage are reimbursed, making it easier for spouses to volunteer. Hours are also flexible based on a volunteer’s availability. You can volunteer mornings, afternoons, three days a week or three days a month. Active duty, spouses, and civilians can all volunteer.
As my family begins to prepare to leave Okinawa, I am so thankful for the NMCRS and the experience and memories it’s provided. I now have something worthwhile to put on my resume for our time here and memories of the great friends I’ve made.
The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is located in building 5674 on Camp Foster, right down the street from the gas station.
Hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.