NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Not only does the U.S. Navy help protect our country, but it’s also helping our youth.

On Thursday, about 100 sailors set out to 12 Norfolk Public Schools to help them prepare for the academic year.

One of those schools was Sewell’s Point Elementary School, right across the street from Naval Station Norfolk.

“They’re helping us stuff envelopes, they’re helping us put the address labels on envelopes,” Principal Lucy Litchmore said. “They’re helping teachers move tables in their classrooms, organizing materials and such for the students.”

She said the extra hands were a big help.

“The whole idea is, ‘Hmm, if they’re doing it and it’s so successful, maybe I need to look within myself to make sure that I’m that servant leader also,'” Litchmore said. “So, we appreciate it and we’re very grateful for our military.”

A Norfolk Public Schools spokesperson said this is the second year Sewells Point is participating in the school preparation event.

They also told 10 On Your Side that last year, only about five schools took part. This year, there are more than double that.

Service members of various ranks were helping out.

Petty Officer Ryan Hartman explained why the Navy’s involvement was so important.

“We try to help the U.S abroad and at home,” Hartman said. “We do our deployments, we make sure the world is safe and secure, but on the home front, we’ve got to help them as well.”

First-grade teacher Ebyn Brinkley couldn’t stop smiling as she thought about how this could help her students start the year off on the right foot.

“I keep smiling because one, I’m not used to having someone come besides my mom,” she said, “and the idea that people are willing to come and help really warms my heart.”