By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Chris Fahey, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Public Affairs
CAMARILLO, Calif. (NNS) -- Fifteen volunteers from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 took their "can do" spirit to the local Camarillo community Dec. 17 to construct an 8-foot high, 26-foot long patio for a women's teenage group home.
Using materials donated by businesses and independent professionals from the local area, the "Seabees" donated a day's work to help transform the state-funded facility into a more comfortable home.
"When the young women arrive here, they have just left a place where they were either abused or neglected," said one of the home's 10 guardians Monique Mujica. "An addition like a patio may seem trivial, but it's one of those details that make our facility feel like a home. A place where the youth here can relax, enjoy a day together and feel at ease."
The home houses six women ranging between ages 12-17 and is restricted to the money given by the state, which is enough to manage maintenance costs and operating needs. This leaves nothing in the budget for added construction such as the patio.
Funds to these costs fall on outside fundraising and volunteer efforts - the primary reason the patio's construction had been stalled for two years.
According to Petty Officer 1st Class (SCW) William Reider who coordinated the Navy's support, the Seabees provided a variety of costly skills. Among the group were Navy builders, steelworkers, utilitiesmen, engineering aides and construction electricians who act as carpenters, welders, plumbers, general engineers and electricians respectively.
"A normal contract for a job with this many laborers could range up to 75 dollars a person," said Reider. "Taxpayers allowed the Navy to give us our skills. From our standpoint, it's only fair to use these skills to help our community. We love our neighbors, and they can depend on us for help."
Sailors are no strangers to facing uncertain futures similar to the home's teens, it's not uncommon for the average Sailor to change homes and schools 5-10 times during an average career. Due to constant deployments and defense needs moving military families from coast-to-coast or overseas, it can be difficult for service members to grow comfortable in their changing surroundings.
Reider said volunteering helps quell any sense of unapproachability felt by the community and sets a good example for others to follow.
"The girls here aren't used to seeing people do things for the sake of just being nice," said Monique. "It's nice for them to see that people don't have to do things because they are told or paid but rather because there is a sense of humanity in it. I think this help you become a well-rounded part of this world."
Seabees from NMCB 3 average roughly 100 volunteer events per year that are dedicated to building their neighborhoods into positive places to live.
NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations.