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Oct 20, 2020

Virtual Baseball Training Workshop-Under COVID-19

We hope you and your loved ones are as safe and as well as can be during these challenging times.  With the Thanksgiving holidays on the horizon, we are very thankful for all your generous donations so far this year.
The junior high school baseball players who have participated in our past Baseball Projects for Natural Disaster Survivors and their coaches and parents keep sending us wonderful feedback. They all learned so much and gained lots of confidence and life skills that will help them throughout their lives on and off the baseball field.
Children living in areas devastated by natural disasters during their lifetimes yet again have been living with great uncertainty and the disruption of their schooling due to the coronavirus pandemic and related states of emergency. In addition to schools having been closed, sports clubs and related local, regional and national championships have been canceled.  
We remain committed to supporting the next generation in Kumamoto and Tohoku through our Baseball Projects for Natural Disaster Survivors.  The timing of our next Baseball Project, however, Is uncertain and depends on the state of affairs surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, when schools and parents in Kumamoto and Tohoku will be comfortable allowing young junior high school baseball players to travel and participate in projects like this again, and the status of the Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Originally we were planning to hold the next Baseball Project this autumn.  This timing is no longer possible given the coronavirus pandemic. Given current circumstances and the related uncertainty, we now are undertaking to organize a virtual baseball training workshop for these young baseball players next year as an interim step before we can reschedule the next in person Baseball Project. 
Since our last report, we have been further preparing and raising funds to bring junior high school baseball players from Tohoku and Kumamoto together to participate in the next Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors. And we are now organizing the interim virtual baseball training workshop.
With your generous support, we will bring together and provide junior high school baseball players and their coaches from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki with an interim virtual baseball training workshop and, at a later date, with baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications, disaster preparedness and sustainability training and have them participate in a volunteer activity.  They will also discuss and share how the coronavirus has impacted their communities and what they have learned from the pandemic. 
Kumamoto experienced several earthquakes in April 2016 including a 6.2 magnitude (on the Japanese scale) earthquake on April 15th and a 7.0 magnitude earthquake (on the Japanese scale) in April 16th.  More than 50,000 people were evacuated from their homes and more than three years later many are still living in temporary housing.  Many of the buildings, including schools and the iconic Kumamoto Castle, were severely damaged.  Kumamoto is still very much a city undergoing long-term reconstruction. 
Ishinomaki in Tohoku was one of the areas most severely impacted by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  A 33 foot wall of water traveled more than three miles inland leveling 80% of the homes and destroying many other buildings.  Nearly ten years later Ishinomaki is still rebuilding and many are still living in temporary housing. 
In both cities, school buildings and sports training facilities were impacted.  For example, sports fields have been used as locations for temporary housing and schools have needed to be repaired or reconstructed.  
There is still lots to be done! We are meeting with Major League Baseball representatives to organize the baseball training workshops.  In addition, we are meeting with sponsors and potential sponsors to arrange for in-kind and other donations.  And we are in regular communication with the local junior high schools, junior high school baseball coaches, baseball players and their parents.  And we are closely monitoring developments in Tohoku and Kumamoto concerning the coronavirus pandemic. 
Thank you once again for your generous support and for making it possible for us to provide baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications, disaster preparedness and sustainability training to all these promising young kids who will be leaders and role models in their local communities.  We still need more donations for the interim workshop and the next Baseball Project.  We are forever grateful for your support.  Please stay safe!


Jul 14, 2020

Disaster Recovery Volunteer Project

We hope you and your loved ones are as well and safe as can be during these challenging times.  Everyone has been adjusting to a new environment shaped by the coronavirus.  At such a time, we are very grateful for your generous donations so far this year.


It is hard to believe that it has been nearly ten years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami along the Tohoku Coastline in Japan. You have helped us assure many people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in further rebuilding their lives. Recovery and rebuilding take many years. Some are still living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are still significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region.  In addition, with the passage of time, the occurrence of devastating natural disasters in other parts of Japan and now concerns regarding the coronavirus, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations being made for Tohoku continue to drop.

Labor shortages throughout Japan continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing and harvesting rice, vegetables and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood and to repay the significant debts they incurred after the earthquake and tsunami is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers. 
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 single day would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete.
Since our last report, we had planned to bring to Tohoku for volunteering many groups of children and their caregivers from different Tokyo Area children’s homes.  Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, we have had to postpone these trips and are still looking for the time when we can safely reschedule these volunteer trips.  
These volunteer trips are very impactful on the children and their caregivers.  For the children who are the beneficiaries of volunteer activities at their children’s homes, these volunteer trips are an opportunity to experience volunteering themselves, to gain new experiences and life skills, and to gain further self confidence. These experiences will help them throughout their lives.  The children greatly appreciate the opportunity and are still benefiting from all that they learned and experienced. They and their caretakers keep sending us wonderful feedback.  Many want to volunteer again and they have encouraged others in their group homes to volunteer in the future.  These volunteer trips are also an important opportunity for the caretakers to better understand each child’s fullest potential.  We are deeply committed to continuing to organize these volunteer trips for children and their caregivers in Tokyo Area children’s homes as well as for students at Tokyo Area International Schools. 
Since our last report, we have been further raising funds for these volunteer trips and we have been in regular communication with our partners in Tohoku and at the Tokyo Area children’s homes and international schools.  And we have been closely monitoring developments in Tohoku and Tokyo concerning the coronavirus. 
We also have been finding ways for volunteers to support Tohoku and the Tokyo Area children’s homes while staying at home.  For example, we held a drive to collect face masks - including face masks delivered to each household in Japan by the Japanese government - and asked volunteers to make other PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment) like protective gowns.  And we have been delivering these face masks and PPEs to children’s homes and others in need. 
There is still so much to be done and there are still many people in need of encouragement and support in Tohoku.  With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to help farmers and others in Tohoku as they continue to work hard to further rebuild their lives.  
Thank you very much in advance for your continued generosity, for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku and for helping provide these life changing volunteer opportunities to so many children living in children’s homes, and to other children living, in the Greater Tokyo Area.  
Slowly but steadily the road to recovery and the pathway for the future wellbeing of the next generation are being paved.  
Please stay safe and well. 
Jul 8, 2020

Hands On Tokyo Youth Impact Summer 2020 Report

Youth Impact Leaders having virtual meetings
Youth Impact Leaders having virtual meetings

First of all, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to our donors and supporters of the Youth Impact program.

Since our last report we have been innovating some of our projects and creating new projects to serve our community to the best of our ability during the COVID-19 outbreak, while also keeping our partners and volunteers safe.

We have started to have virtual meetings with children and volunteers online. For example, recently we started to hold live motor development classes with disabled children and live English conversation sessions with children’s homes. In addition to this we have prepared written learning material that we can incorporate into the lessons. These types of projects are important, because they give a chance for the children to interact with our volunteers and know that they still care about them.

Another new project is that, through our talented youth volunteers, we have started creating recorded video style activities for English learning and exercise/stretching routines. It is especially helpful for care workers, because we can create custom content to fit their needs, all while giving them an extremely well-deserved break.(During COVID-19 children’s homes and other children organizations workers have experienced a substantially increased workload)

Currently, our student members are also proposing/planning youth led projects like:

  • Contributing to appreciation gift baskets for medical workers
  • Assisting children’s homes with the children’s homework (we are looking into subjects like math and Japanese)
  • Helping the homeless community in the inner city

We are also planning projects to carry out once it is deemed safe to gather after the COVID-19 situation. For example:

  • Beach cleanup project
  • Creating University accessibility maps for disabled people
  • Youth charity concert

Here is a quote from a Youth Impact member who designed and carried out his own project:

“Hands on Tokyo Youth Impact has broadened my view of my own country. It has helped me understand more of situations in Japan and as both a project and group leader it has been an extremely valuable opportunity. I have had the pleasure to be the president and vice president of my school’s Youth Impact club in Tokyo. Meeting many people and giving back to the community has given me a lot of pride and experience. They have many volunteering opportunities and events to attend so I highly recommend everyone to volunteer!” -Youth Impact Member

We are sending thoughts out to all those who have been affected by, or are vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are hoping for a swift and steadfast de-escalation of the what could turn into a possible pandemic. We are also letting all our community partners and amazing volunteers know that we care about them in this trying time.

All of the work we do would not be possible without the support from you, our donors. Through your generosity we will empower even more of the youth, and together continue to make a difference in our community!

We wish everyone's safety and health during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Online Exercise Videos for children in need
Online Exercise Videos for children in need
Virtual English learning sessions
Virtual English learning sessions
Simple stretching videos for senior citizens
Simple stretching videos for senior citizens
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