Living Dreams

Our organization exists to support kids living in Tokyo-area children's homes (orphanages) on their path towards becoming responsible, confident and empowered young adults. Centered along the "LAST" principle (Learning Arts, Sports, and Technology), long-term and regularly occurring programs are developed under each category to help improve a child's overall motivation and confidence. Ultimately each program and opportunity crafted for a children's home works to enrich, encourage and empower.
Jul 22, 2016

Digital Natives Update.7.2016

Currently we are working with the staff of the homes to understand the career assessment tests which have been taken or are underway.

RIASEC, the company which has donated the tests, is holding training sessions for the homes so that they understand the results and how to encourage the children to use the laptops to research more details about the careers their aptitudes point them towards.

Meanwhile firms such as Morgan Stanley and Herbert Smith have signed up to do career days at their offices which will include an office tour as well as introduce the children to the people in different departments such as IT, Mass Communications and Finance.

We are hoping that post the meetings, we will also have volunteers to act as mentors for the children for them to be challenged to use the software to a greater degree and depth catering the usage to the career preparation.

We are also holding a photo contest with the children in Kumamoto to encourage them to use the digital cameras we purchased for them as ways to focus their energies and creativity technically.

Last week we had interns from JP MORGAN join one of the homes to make drink tumblers by choosing a photo or image from the internet and adding to a WORD document and cutting out to place in the tumblers.

This weekend we have someone who is working with the children to be doing a few training sessions on how they could build their own website for the group home they live in.

We are looking for organizations who are willing to get closer and adopt a home to know more about the details of their needs and progress. Please contact us if you are interested.

michael@livingdreams.jp

Jun 21, 2016

Update on Kumamoto June 2016

We have been working with the Encho-sensei at Jaiai-en in Kumamoto.

 

Aside from the items they requested that were damaged in the earthquake, we have been working with them on purchasing items which can help the children as they get back to normal in post the event.

 

Having walked through the town where things were most affected, there are signs everywhere of the earthquake and we cannot help but believe these reminders are the reason, more so then ever, the children need to have things to keep their mind off of the acts of Mother Nature.

 

We also purchased digital cameras for the home and challenged them to a photo contest. Each home on the compound has a camera and the children are working on the challenge of taking photos graphs of "colors" from this we leave it open to their imagination.

 

They have also received e-pencils to be used on iPads for drawing exercises. A Kinect Xbox unit was purchased for both homes in Kumamoto so they could challenge each other to online games. They have also received two PCs for the children to use.

 

While one of the group homes was reduced to rubble though the children escaped in time to avoid being injured, this home will need to be rebuilt at the price of about $500,000 USD.

 

There has also been a request which will exceed our funds of connecting the group homes on the compound to WIFI. The quote for this is $12,000 which we would like to make an appeal to donors for.

 

Once the children all of WIFI access, this opens their world to not only access to the LIVING DREAMS Azure Cloud but also the ability to SKYPE with teachers and instructors.

 

There are many concerned groups who continue to show interest in helping Kumamoto and we appreciate their concern.


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May 27, 2016

Kumamoto Update May 27th

We started a fundraising page for Kumamoto upon hearing the news of the earthquake: CLICK HERE: GLOBAL GIVING

My great grandfather's family returned from living in China in 1906 just in time to experience the San Francisco earthquake. He recalled at 6 years old hiding under his bed as the lamp in his room swung violently back and forth.

My first trip to Japan was in 1989 and I returned to San Francisco just in time for the earthquake there. I was in the basement of the Shreve Building which was one of the few that stood in 1906. I was stranded for a week with no electricity and luckily had been to the store the day before because there was no way to get money out of the ATM to buy anything.

I moved to Tokyo in 1993 so lived through the Kobe earthquake news and living abroad, at the time, witnessed the Tsunami and destruction in Tohoku.

Yesterday I visited Kumamoto for the first time. Though I could see the signs of cracks on the walls of the airport, there was a sense of calm and frankly when you ride from the airport into the city, you are reminded of how beautiful the country side is in Japan.

Immediately upon hearing of the earthquake one of our Dream Makers from Living Dreams NPO Yukie-san was on the phone with two homes we support there. Both homes said that their lifelines were up quickly though the children were upset from the quakes. Apparently the one that hit on the 14th of April was small in comparison to the one which hit again on the 16th leaving most of the hardest hit area in rubble. There are over 800 children living in over dozens of group homes in Kumamoto.

Jiai-en was started in 1919 because post World War I, rice had been hoarded by power brokers leaving the prices inflated. Many families were left in dire poverty. Maud Powlas established a model social service program and purchased the current land which the children's homes reside on.

Her aim was to "gather up the fragments" that no one may be lost. She had cottages built and placed a housemother in each to parent 8 children. Subsequently a geriatrics care facility and a kindergarten. She was repatriated to the US during World War II but returned and established homes for the blind, those with T.B. and leprosy as well as the impoverished. The late Emperor Hirohito and the present Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited.

They sold 1/3 of their land to purchase the property where Hiroyasu Home was established as a cousin home of Jiai-en. One of their group homes which was housing 6 children was reduced to rubble. Luckily all of the children had escaped safely and are now living back at the main compound. They will now need about $500,000 to rebuild the home as it was not insured for earthquakes.

While most of the children have returned to school, we have been purchasing items that were damaged in the earthquake and delivered X-Box and Kinect for the kids to play with to help reduce the anxiety.

Though the two homes we work with did not suffer structural damage, they did host 500 evacuees and the children volunteered by feeding everyone. I think like most situations, the Japanese tend to just get on with life. When I went through the town, however, I was speechless at the destruction which has stopped being shown in the news.

Having experienced earthquakes personally, I am always left with the reality that we are so insignificant compared to Mother Nature. What really stands out, however, is that it brings everyone together and neighbors you didn't know are now on a first name basis.

Stories are heard like Endo-san who drove 1,800 km to bring 150 kilos of rice to Kumamoto from Tohoku because he remembers the help everyone extended to him and his family in their time of need.

We will continue to support the children and homes in Kumamoto with the donations we have received by bands who have played in Tokyo for the proceeds to go to help out, from numerous individuals and other NPOs who have generously donated to the fund thus far in addition to the allocation we received from Global Giving which has raised almost $500,000 from over 1800 donors from dozens of countries in response to this news.

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