Hands On Tokyo

Hands On Tokyo addresses the critical needs of the community by partnering with other organizations focusing on environmental, educational, and social issues in Tokyo. Through such partnerships, we provide numerous opportunities for any individual or corporation looking to engage in direct volunteer service and community participation. Our vision is to empower volunteers so that they can be confident that their contribution can change lives of others.
Jan 30, 2017

Hands On Tokyo Tohoku Winter Report

Happy New Year!

Thank you for all your tremendous support last year.  You helped us convey to Tohoku communities that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome challenges in rebuilding their lives after the devastating earthquake and tsunami nearly six years ago.

In the days, weeks, and months following a tragic natural disaster, many people come together in response. However, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations for Tohoku have now dropped significantly.  There is a general sense among those living outside of the Tohoku area that everything in Tohoku is back to normal and that there is nothing more to be done.  Recovery and rebuilding though take years and it is natural for those trying to rebuild their lives to feel forgotten.  We greatly appreciate your continued general support as we work hard not to forget Tohoku.

Winter is busy time for farmers as they need to clear fields so that they are ready for next year's growing season.  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Growing rice, vegetables and fruit is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers.

With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo volunteers have been able to continue to support local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi Prefecture. The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who produce and promote local rice and local produce.

In November, 10 Hands On Tokyo volunteers helped Saito-san and his wife with winter chores by pulling and removing dead eggplant bushes from a large field.  In December, 15 Hands On Tokyo volunteers (including members and leaders of a Boy Scout Troop from the American  School in Japan) pulled and removed eggplant bushes from another large field.

Eggplants can grow well in compromised soil, specificially soil that has been mixed with sand and salt water from the tsunami.  

The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in a day would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete.  At the end of the day, Saito-san looked at the cleared fields with deep gratitude and amazement. He never imagined that the volunteers could do so much in such a short time period. 

With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to further support local farmers in Tohoku as they continue to work very hard to further rebuild their lives.

The November and December trips to Yamamoto-cho were also a time of celebration.  In November, we celebrated the near completion of the Saito Family's new home where three generations will live together after spending nearly six years in a very tiny temporary housing unit. In December, we witnessed the first day of service of a local train line since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The train runs next to the eggplant field, so we waved at each passing train and the conductor tooted the horn. It was heartwarming to witness the improvement and sense of community in Yamamoto-cho.

Aside from the farming activity, we were also able to bring the holiday spirit to Tohoku. Our volunteers created Christmas stockings from scratch that were hand delivered to a senior citizen`s home where former Ogatsu residents are living. The residents loved receiving individual designs of the socks and the personalized message attached to the gifts. It was a rewarding feeling to remind people that here, in Tokyo, we are still always thinking of them.

Slowly but surely the road to recovery is being paved. It is still a work in progress so we hope to continue to assist in recovery efforts. Thank you in advance for your continued support and helping sustain a powerful impact in the Tohoku area.

Jan 30, 2017

Teen Advisory Board Winter Report

Happy New Year!

Thank you for your incredible support of our youth leadership program this past year. You are directly helping our newest generation of Hands On Tokyo volunteers to spread awareness about our organization and create positive impact in communities in need throughout out Japan. They have proven to be indispensable members of our team. With their help, Hands On Tokyo was able to meet new goals, grow further, and host events.

In November, our teen volunteers carried an essential role at our Taste for Volunteering soirée that raises funds for our organization and projects. They circulated the room, helping locate donors, providing direction, and ensuring that the event went smoothly. We are especially proud of their role at the event and their representation of Hands On Tokyo in their schools and at our projects.

In December, the American School in Japan boy scouts went to Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture. Ogatsu was completely devastated by the tsunami and is still far from ready for reconstruction and redevelopment.

15 Hands On Tokyo volunteers helped move plants, weed, fertilize, and plant colorful pansies and tulip bulbs at the Ogatsu Rose Garden Factory.

A local resident founded the Ogatsu Rose Garden Factory after the tsunami on the land where her mother perished. Her goal is that former residents and visitors can once again see beauty when they first enter Ogatsu. It is also a place where families can grieve the loss of loved ones. The founder was grateful to have school children there volunteering. Their laughter and energy calmed the souls of those who sadly perished.

With your generous support, we hope to be able to continue bringing volunteers to Ogatsu in the near future.

There is still so much to be done in Tohoku, and people in need of support and encouragement. We are now planning our first volunteer weekend in Tohoku in 2017 and looking forward to taking a group of our youth volunteers with us next month.

Thank you in advance for your continued support of our ever growing youth leadership program. 2016 was a big success, and we are all excited to see what they can accomplish in this new year with your help.

Oct 31, 2016

Day of Service 2016

Teen Board at Day of Service 2016
Teen Board at Day of Service 2016

 At the 2016 Day of Service on October 23, 2016, the Hands On Tokyo Teen Board, consisitng of representatives from the International Schools of the Kanto Region, provided several game booths for many children to enjoy. The games centered around a petting zoo and several concession stands. The activites attracted many oncomers, offering prizes in exchange for free play! Organizing the booths required monthly Teen Board meetings to plan and select roles for representatives. Members of the Teen Board are also Hands On Tokyo club leaders for their respective schools. Therefore, gathering supplies, volunteers, and thinking of games turned out to be a breeze. Eventually during the montly sessions, it was decided that each Teen Board member would organize their own activity for the Day of Service, which would make it easier for every school to communicate with their Teen Board member and organize amongst themselves. 

On the Day of Service, the Teen Board had mini golf, baseball, target pitching, super ball scooping, bean bag toss, and traditional Japanese toys (Kendama, Daruma-Otoshi, and Koma) activities set up. All in all, the game booths turned out to be a great success. Many children lined up to play and hoped for prizes. The games absolutely added to the overall liveliness of the event. Efficient and Effective, the Hands On Tokyo Teen Board enjoyed being a part of the memorable Day of Service, and the valuable volunteer experience that came along with this day.

In addition to running the game booths, the Teen Board was also responsable for recruiting volunteers from our schools. We hung up posters and talked about the Day of Service event during school assemblies. As a result, there were a lot of high school students who signed up to participate through the Hands On Tokyo website. In general, the Teen Board helps promote a variety of Hands On Tokyo events at our schools. We encourage our classmates to volunteer at events such as the Motor Development Program. It is an ideal opportutunity for students to give back to the community.

The Hands On Tokyo Teen Advisory Board welcomed new members from the Christian Academy in Japan this year. On the Day of Service, we also met Zama American High School who expressed interest in joining the Teen Board. Finally we welcomed new members from the International Schools of the Kanto region to fill in the role of the departing seniors.

Last year, the Teen Advisory Board held our annual charity concert at the International School of Sacred Heart. The concert attracted performers from various schools and over 100 attendees came to the event. From playing the ukelele to singing, our performers showcased a wide range of talents. We hope to continue this project again this year. The concerts the previous two years have proven to be extremely successful. Futhermore the profit made from the charity concert will will be used to fund an end of the year project the Teen Board decides on very soon.

We would like to thank you for your donations this and last year through GlobalGiving. With your support, the Teen Board was able to carry out a children`s home painting project led by the Saint Mary`s School. In addition to painting the locker rooms in preparation for the summer, our volunteers gardened, washed cars, and cleaned the area around the pool. 

This year we would like to continue reaching out to the community and plan projects that will leave a lasting impact. These projects are possible because of your generous donations, and we hope you will continue to be a part of our projects. Again, we thank you for all your help through GlobalGiving that enables us to be change makers in the Tokyo region. 

Game Booth at Day of Service 2016
Game Booth at Day of Service 2016
Teen Board Monthly Meeting
Teen Board Monthly Meeting
 
   

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