Since “Kirarin Kids (KK)” moved into a new government-provided temporary shop area, called “Takata Ohsumi Tsudoi no Oka Shotengai,” it is fully in operation with three full-time staff, one helper, and one volunteer. In the opening events on June 2 and 3, 2012, KK invited three character performers from Yokohama and Nara who helped them soon after the Tsunami disaster, and offered diverse activities to children, such as picture-story shows, scooping super balls, etc. A large number of children gathered to enjoy new programs offered by KK.
In addition to regular activities to take care of children, they engage in diverse extra activities to live up children’s daily living. In June, they conducted a lecture on children’s medicine, a concert, aroma lessons, an excursion, etc. They also held special sessions for mothers and fathers separately. Especially the latter is new and important to bring more fathers’ attention to child rearing. In addition to regular activities, they started offering events considered highly important for child rearing presently. Actually, they are offering some new programs which are rather rare to be found in Tokyo.
In July, they newly organized parents-children exercise lessons by inviting an outside lecturer, child counseling sessions by inviting a professional counselor, lessons on baby massage, etc. Despite the busy schedule, they made sure to have some staff training sessions as our “Kirarin Kids” project intends to do. Especially, the Niiza Childcare Network offered several training sessions traveling from Saitama Prefecture to Iwate Prefecture.
In August, though less active due to a summer break, in cooperation with NEC KK plans to offer two-day IT classes for mothers, whose employment opportunities are hoped to be increased. For fathers, they will invite a male childcare professional to teach how to play and dance with children and read stories to them. Again, they are pioneering on newly propagated types of activities.
Given such good programs they offer, they generated good reputation, spreading even outside of Rikuzen Takata. Consequently, they successfully increased the number of members from 49 before the move, to 65 after the move, including some from outside of Rikuzen Takata. Their good reputation also ended up inviting public requests for supporting symposiums, lectures, and shows to be held in Rikuzen Takata. For example, on Saturdays in September, they are requested to support a consulting session on children’s allergy, a symposium on supporting children in disaster-stricken area, a 22 man puppet show, etc.
This success, however, is generating a new problem to them. Members are overworked and started losing time to be with their own children. KK is reaching a critical moment of decision making, whether to reduce their activities or ride on their reputation. But the key difficulty is whether they can have enough funding to have more fully-paid staffs to support such activities. As it is clearly a case of success, a new phase requires more funding and staffs. They have done an excellent work within a short period of time despite difficulties they faced, and thanks to your financial support they managed the present transition fairly well. However, given their new challenges, your future support to KK, enabling them to employ more full-time staffs is highly appreciated. Your contributions may make difference on their future.
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