January 2012 Field Report
Thanks to the generosity of so many donors around the world, December 2011 and early January 2012 delivered festive holiday cheer and new outdoor learning adventures to many kids living in children's homes across Tohoku...
Christmas Wish Program
During the month of December, Living Dreams worked closely with 7 children's homes located in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures to collect each child's "wished-for" gift choice and arrange for a special party at their home to celebrate the holiday season. Living Dreams ordered 'wished-for' presents for every child, or in some instances, older children requested "otoshidama" (special envelopes with cash) for something they were saving money to buy. Each child's gift was around the ¥5,000 range. Considering that most of these kids rarely receive more than 1 gift a year (typically on birthdays), this was a welcomed event by the home staff and children. Less about the material gift (although truly enjoyed!), each home felt a true sense of appreciation from the community (local and global) with the heartfelt gestures and efforts of so many people wanting to help Tohoku children's homes celebrate the holiday season. 374 children enjoyed a gift of their choice to open, along with a special feast of treats they don't normally get to eat (pizza, fried chicken), along with some traditional Japanese foods and sweets. The occasion gave each home a chance to come together and enjoy the holiday season in uplifting fashion.
English Adventure Snow Camp
During the first week of January 2012, 33 kids from two children's homes in Tohoku enjoyed a 4-day overnight "snow camp" adventure at a beautiful campsite located in the region. From building snowmen, igloos and campfires to skiing and snowshoeing, kids had a chance to play in the snow while working in team units, guided by experienced camp counselors. In just four days, children went from being withdrawn and uncommunicative to more animated and open to new experiences! Despite the very challenging activity of igloo-building several kids stuck with it and were incredibly proud of their accomplishments. Other children simply soaked up the beautiful snowy surroundings as they trekked their way through the woods on a snowshoe hike. And skiing ranked as the favorite activity among most of the kids! To top off their snowy experiences, all of these activities were sprinkled with a few English lessons as well...
The weeks following their return back home, both children and accompanying home staff realized they had discovered new ways to better communicate and interact with one another... further, the brief exposure to new experiences and team-building activities helped boost children's confidence and perspectives. This camp was a tremendously positive way to kick off the New Year!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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