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Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors

by Hands On Tokyo
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors
Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors

Thank you very much for all your generous donations so far this year!  You have helped make so many dreams come true and have helped inspire the next generation in Kumamoto and Ishinomaki to aim high.  

 

The 2019 Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors for junior high school baseball players from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki was held in Tokyo, Orange County and Los Angeles from July 26th to August 2nd.  18 baseball players, three coaches and one intern (a senior high school student — a young woman — from Kumamoto who participated in the baseball project in prior years) participated in the Project.  They received team building, baseball, sportsmanship, fair play, leadership and communications training, participated in a volunteer activity and gained further confidence and life skills that will help them throughout their lives.  We are very pleased to report that the Project was an outstanding success.  

 

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 two 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.  Eight 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, school baseball fields have been used as locations for temporary housing.  

 

This Project was inspired by Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Angels as a pitcher and designated hitter.  Ohtani is a hero and great inspiration in the eyes of many young Japanese baseball players.  Not only did these young baseball players and their coaches get to see Ohtani play in two baseball games and to see Ohtani in pre-game batting practice at Angels Stadium, but they also got to meet him!  They never dreamed this could be possible and now they know, based on this experience and other experiences during the Project, that so many other things are possible.  Their futures will not be limited by the words “never” and “impossible”.

 

Before traveling to Los Angeles, we held an orientation in Tokyo.  One of the first things we did was divide the young baseball players into four teams with members from Ishinomaki and Kumamoto.  These kids from two different areas of Japan had never met or played baseball together.  It was important to try to create one team from the start so the first thing we did was engage in a fun team building game.  Then they engaged in sportsmanship and communications training by sharing one by one what sportsmanship means to them.  (After the Project, they also had to write how their understanding of sportsmanship changed as a result of the Project.)  By dinner time, they were all saying how happy they were to have made new friends.  It demonstrated just how easy it can be, in this complex world, for people from different communities in one country to come together as one.  

 

A key part of the Project was playing baseball.  These young baseball players gained further confidence and life skills by training overseas and by playing two baseball games with their peers who are overcoming challenges growing up in underprivileged communities in Orange County.  Their peers are on a team in the Angels RBI League, created by the Angels Baseball Foundation, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club and Major League Baseball to revive baseball in inner cities.  This program provides baseball and life skills training and stresses the importance of academics off the field.  

 

In the first game, Team Japan played against the Angels RBI League Team.  These young Japanese players had never played together as a team before and they were worried about playing with US baseballs and bats for the first time. (US and Japanese baseballs and bats for junior high schools are different.)  They played very well and won resoundingly.  They gained a lot of confidence playing that game.

 

In the second game,  we created two teams with players from both teams.  It was amazing to see how well they played together, never having played baseball together before and with no common language other than baseball.  Everyone was a winner! 

 

During and after both games, it was very powerful witnessing how quickly all these kids bonded and became friends.  Baseball has a wonderful way of bringing people together and promoting greater understanding and compassion between different cultures and communities.  

 

These young baseball players also received communications training by having to prepare and make presentations about their communities, how their communities were impacted by the natural disasters and what they have learned from the natural disasters.  They gave the presentations at the orientation and at a special luncheon with members of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.  It was very touching to hear how they all want to give something back to their communities. 

 

They also received leadership training by hearing very inspiring remarks from the president of Yakult USA.  And they gave back to the local community by volunteering.  They did beach cleanimg at Huntington Beach, picking up plastic and other debris. 

 

They all worked very hard each day to learn as much as they could from this Project.  They are extremely grateful for this opportunity.  They thanked everyone each step of the way.  They even stayed up late the last night to prepare a video expressing their gratitude and to write thank you messages for each of the local volunteers.  They all want to share their experiences with their local communities so others can learn from their experiences.  They demonstrated each day the importance of sportsmanship and fair play everyday and everywhere in all that we do.  The future looks bright!

 

Thank YOU for helping make all this possible!  We and all the participants greatly appreciate your generous support.  You have helped promising young kids from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki in a very meaningful way.  

 

Yes, soon we will be planning the next baseball project!  Currently we are thinking of bringing junior high school baseball players from Ishinomaki to Kumamoto for baseball and important life skills training with their peers in Kumamoto.  We will keep you posted.  Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Thank you very much for all your generous donations so far this year.  You are helping us further prepare the 2019 Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors for junior high school baseball players from Kumamoto and Tohoku.

 This year`s project will be held in Los Angeles at the end of July, so we must complete all of the preparations and fundraising over the next seven weeks.  As we say in Japanese:  Ganbarimasu!  We will do our very best!

With your generous support, we will bring together and provide approximately 20 junior high school baseball players and their coaches from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki with baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training and have them participate in a volunteer activity.  One of the former participants from Kumamoto who is now in high school will participate as well as an intern to learn further leadership, management and communications skills.

This Project was inspired by Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Angels as a pitcher and designated hitter.  Ohtani is a hero and great inspiration in the eyes of many young Japanese baseball players.  We thought how can we inspire these young baseball players to aim high and to be future leaders in their communities if we don’t aim high ourselves in organizing this project? We are very excited to be organizing this project so that these young baseball players can gain further confidence and life skills by training overseas and by playing baseball with their peers who are overcoming many challenges growing up in underprivileged communities in the greater Los Angeles area.  It will also be a very meaningful learning experience for their peers in the greater Los Angeles area who will be participating in this Project.  Baseball is a wonderful way of bringing people together and promoting greater understanding and compassion between different cultures and communities.

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 two 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.  Eight 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, school baseball fields have been used as locations for temporary housing. 

 Since our last report, we have been very busy preparing for this Project.  There is still lots to be done by the end of July!  We are meeting regularly with Major League Baseball representatives to organize the baseball training workshops.  In addition, we have 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 and junior high school baseball coaches.  We also have been conducting orientations in Kumamoto and Ishinomaki and meeting with the young players and their coaches and parents so that everyone will be well prepared to enjoy and maximize this wonderful opportunity and learning experience.

 We also have been expanding the impact of this Baseball Project in Kumamoto as we are working with a different junior high school this year.  The baseball team we have worked with in the past cannot participate this year as they have to play in a tournament in late July.  We are very excited as this gives us an opportunity to nurture even more future leaders in Kumamoto.

 Everyone is extremely excited about this Project and we are certain that these young baseball players from Japan and the United States will work very hard to learn as much as they can from this Project.  The future looks bright!

We greatly appreciate your generous support and your making it possible for us to provide baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training to all these promising young kids who are -- and will continue to be -- leaders and role models in their local communities. 

Thank you so much for your generous donations so far this year.  All your donations are helping us further prepare the 2019 Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors for junior high school baseball players from Kumamoto and Tohoku.

 This Project will be held in Los Angeles this coming summer, which means we must complete all of the preparations and fundraising over the next five months.

 With your generous support, we will bring together and provide approximately 20 junior high school baseball players and their coaches from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki with baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training and have them participate in a volunteer activity.  One of the former participants from Kumamoto who is now in high school will participate as well as an intern to learn further leadership, management and communications skills.

 This Project was inspired by Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Angels as a pitcher and designated hitter.  Ohtani is a hero and great inspiration in the eyes of many young Japanese players.  We thought how can we inspire these young baseball players to aim high and to be future leaders in their communities if we don’t aim high ourselves in organizing this Project. We are very excited to be organizing this Project so that these young baseball players can gain further confidence and life skills by training overseas and by training and playing baseball with their peers who are overcoming many challenges growing up in underprivileged communities in the greater Los Angeles area.  It will also be a very meaningful learning experience for their peers in the Los Angeles area who will be participating in this Project.

 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 two 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.  Eight 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. 

 Since our last report, we have been very busy preparing for this Project.  There is still lots to be done by this summer!  We are meeting regularly with Major League Baseball representatives to organize the baseball training workshops.  In addition, we have 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 and junior high school baseball coaches.  Everyone is very excited about this Project and we are certain that these young baseball players from Japan and the United States will work very hard to learn as much as they can from this Project.

 We greatly appreciate your generous support and your making it possible for us to provide baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training to all these promising young kids who are -- and will continue to be -- leaders and role models in their local communities. 

Thank you so much for your generous donations so far this year.  All your donations are helping us prepare to invite more junior high school baseball players from Kumamoto and Tohoku to participate in the 2019 Baseball Project for Natural Disaster Survivors.

 This Project will be held in Los Angeles next summer, which means we must complete all of the preparations and fundraising over the next eight months.

 With your generous support, we will bring together and provide junior high school baseball players and their coaches from Kumamoto and Ishinomaki with baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training and have them participate in a volunteer activity. 

 This Project was inspired by Shohei Ohtani joining the Los Angeles Angels as a pitcher and designated hitter.  Ohtani is a hero and great inspiration in the eyes of many young Japanese players.  We thought how can we inspire these young baseball players to aim high and to be future leaders in their communities if we don’t aim high ourselves in organizing this Project. We are very excited to be organizing this Project so that these young baseball players can gain further confidence and life skills by training overseas and by training and playing baseball with their peers who are overcoming many challenges growing up in underprivileged communities in the greater Los Angeles area.

 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 two 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 eight 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. 

 Since our last report, we have been very busy preparing for this Project.  There is still lots to be done by next summer!  We are meeting regularly with Major League Baseball representatives to organize the baseball training workshops.  In addition, we have 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 and junior high school baseball coaches.

 We received a very generous donation last month from the Major League Baseball Players Association but we still need many more donations for this project.

 Thank you once again for your generous support and for making it possible for us to provide baseball, leadership, teamwork, communications and disaster preparedness training to all these promising young kids who are -- and will continue to be -- leaders and role models in their local communities. 

 We wish all of you a joyful holiday season and a peaceful New Year. 

Thank you so much for all your donations and for making it possible for us to bring junior high school baseball players from Tohoku and Kumamoto to Tokyo for the 2018 Baseball Project. This year’s theme was Be the Wind of the Future and the Project was held in Tokyo from August 10th to August 13th.

 With your generous support, we were able to bring 18  junior high school baseball players from Kumamoto (including one girl), 18 junior high school players from Ishinomaki, and some of their coaches to Tokyo for the Project, and we were able to have 15 junior high school baseball players from Central Tokyo and some of their coaches participate in the Project.

 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) on April 16th.  More than 50,000 people were evacuated from their homes and more than two years later many are still living in temporary housing.  Many 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.  7.5 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. 

 The Tokyo-based junior high school baseball players have not yet experienced a natural disaster but at some point in their lives they are very likely to.  Therefore, it is important for them to learn about resilience, teamwork and preparedness from their peers.

 We are very happy, with your generous support, to have been able to provide all these junior high school baseball players with baseball, leadership, communication, teamwork and preparedness training and to afford them with an opportunity to experience the power of volunteering and to create many happy new memories. 

 On the first day, several U.S. Marines led the young baseball players through a difficult exercise drill that all U.S. Marines are required to do as part of their training and endurance building.  After lunch at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Japan at which two players from Kumamoto gave remarks in Japanese and English, the young baseball players visited Major League Baseball Japan and attended a Yokohama DeNA BayStars and Hanshin Tigers baseball game at Yokohama Stadium.

 On the second day, it was time to play baseball! The young baseball players and their coaches participated in a baseball skills building clinic led by Takashi Saito, who was a professional baseball player in Japan and the United States for 23 years.  He pitched for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, L.A. Dodgers and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.  He now works in the front office of the San Diego Padres. He was born in Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture and was very happy to participate in this Project as Tohoku is always very close to his heart.

 During Saito-san’s hands on baseball clinic, the young players learned so much about how to pitch, throw, catch, field, hit and run like a professional baseball player.  Through Saito-san’s wonderful integrity and professionalism, they also learned how to be a leader, a team player and a solid citizen of their communities.  After the baseball clinic, they were able to apply what they learned by playing two baseball games. 

 In the morning of the third day, the Kumamoto and Ishinomaki teams played a baseball game and applied what they had learned over the prior two days.  Both teams demonstrated great pitching, hitting, fielding, teamwork and respect for the umpires, their coaches, the other team and the sport.

 In the afternoon, everyone participated in a leadership, communication, teamwork and preparedness workshop by forming small groups, each of which had to create the best possible baseball team and to identify five key elements or characteristics of a winning team.  While the groups were working, Saito-san talked with each group about their work product and asked them questions. Each group then presented its team and key elements for success with each group member gaining public speaking experience by partaking in the presentation.  Each group also fielded questions from the audience.  Afterwards Saito-san gave a keynote speech about the importance and core elements of teamwork and about his experiences as a team player.  During the baseball clinic and the workshop, the kids learned many important skills that will help them on and off the baseball field and throughout their lives. 

 In the morning of the fourth day before heading home, all of the students and coaches and some of their parents participated in a volunteer activity and made care packages with basic essentials like towels, wet tissues, energy bars and cool packs and with messages of encouragement for survivors of the tragic flooding and landslides in Western Japan earlier this summer who are now living in emergency shelters and temporary housing. After we delivered the care packages, a volunteer in the area said how impactful it was for survivors to receive messages of encouragement from children and adults who deeply understand how natural disasters impact people’s lives.  The volunteer was also inspired to continue working hard to provide disaster relief in the deeply impacted areas of Western Japan.  We shared this feedback with the young baseball players and their coaches. They now have firsthand experience seeing the importance of volunteering and how each person can make a difference.

 The Project was a great success and we are already preparing for the 2019 Baseball Project next summer!  All the junior high school students worked very hard during the four-day project and they learned so much. We received lots of positive feedback from the students, their coaches and their parents.  They are extremely grateful to have been able to participate in the project.  They have inspired all of us at Hands On Tokyo to work even harder and we hope they will inspire you too.

 Thank you again for your generous donations and for making it possible for us to hold this Project and to provide baseball, leadership, communication, teamwork and preparedness training to all these promising young kids who are -- and will continue to be -- the Wind of the Future in their local communities.  We hope you will support our future baseball projects as well. 

 

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Organization Information

Hands On Tokyo

Location: Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Project Leader:
Naho Hozumi
Tokyo, Japan
$15,010 raised of $15,000 goal
 
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