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Airmen teach English to South Korean children

SUWON CITY, South Korea -- Master Sgt. John Liss helps teach English to South Korean students here Dec. 4.  Once a month Airmen from nearby Osan Air Base visit an elementary school here.  The program has been active for five months.  Sergeant Liss is assigned to the 51st Medical Group.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Raheen Moore)

SUWON CITY, South Korea -- Master Sgt. John Liss helps teach English to South Korean students here Dec. 4. Once a month Airmen from nearby Osan Air Base visit an elementary school here. The program has been active for five months. Sergeant Liss is assigned to the 51st Medical Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Raheen Moore)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFPN) -- Airmen from here are traveling to Suwon City to help teach English to students at an elementary school.

Since August, 25 Airmen assigned to the 51st Medical Group have taught English at the school the first Saturday of every month.

The volunteer work got the attention of the city’s mayor, Kim Young Sun, who thanked the Airmen with a luncheon Dec. 4.

Myong Kon Kim, a 51st MDG medical technician, said when he started the program it was a little unorganized. Now, however, he said they have smoothed out most of the wrinkles.

"By the third time we brought Airmen out to teach, we had established a good system," Mr. Kim said. “The children are so excited to have us every time. They practice their English for a week before we come out."

But the children are not the only ones who benefit from the English lessons, Mr. Kim said.

"I think this is very good for military members to do," he said. "It will get them off base to see (South) Korea and broaden their experience. Plus, it's a good cause. It helps children here with their education."

Mr. Kim said he welcomes more volunteers and would like to have the Airmen teach twice a month.

"(The school) has 18 classes and a ratio of about 40 students per teacher," said Pat Higgins, 51st MDG quality and risk management director who helped develop the program. "The more English speakers we have the better."

Staff Sgt. Jason Williams, of the 51st MDG, said he has volunteered for every opportunity since the first trip.

"Even in just five visits, I can see their progress in conversational skills," he said.

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