Providing Volunteer Opportunities in Japan

by Hands on Tokyo
Making greeting cards at the Senior Home
Making greeting cards at the Senior Home

Congratulations to our volunteers, corporate sponsors and NPO partners on another successful Day of Service. This year's event on October 3, 2009, attracted nearly 300 volunteers dedicating their time on 5 large projects. Volunteers made greeting cards with residents of the Hakujusou senior citizens home; learned photography and made one-of-a-kind frames for their photos with the children at the Wakabaryo children's home; took visually-impaired children on a virtual trip around the world to Taiwan, India, France, and Colombia at the international festival; teamed with Special Olympics athletes and their coaches in an exciting bowling tournament; and painted and planted both inside and out on the playroom and garden renovation project at Saiseikai Central Hospital's nursery for infants and toddlers. HOT partnered with California-based environmental designer and founder of With A Brush of Love, Lauren S. Henry on the renovation project. Lauren specializes in designing surroundings for children with special needs. In the evening volunteers shared stories and reflected on the day at the After Party hosted by corporate partner Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Together volunteers gave back approximately 1,000 hours in service to the Tokyo community.

The HOT Day of Service is a one-day event which engages volunteers, primarily from our corporate partners and their families, in larger-scale service activities that may be more permanent or provide a deeper connection to partner agencies than our ongoing projects. The event also serves as a showcase for volunteerism, promotes Hands On Tokyo as a vehicle to provide meaningful service opportunities, enables both foreigners and Japanese nationals to give back in a tangible way to local, underserved populations and raises funds to support Hands On Tokyo's year-round service projects.

Renovating a playroom at a group home
Renovating a playroom at a group home
International Festival for visually challenged young people
International Festival for visually challenged young people

Rie Kaneko had been teaching English to blind adults for two years but felt her students were missing something just interacting with her. Most students had never traveled abroad and could not practice English easily by watching movies or making friends with foreigners in Japan. She was searching for a way to introduce the world to her students when she stumbled on an article about HOT in Tokyo Families magazine. That was the start of a partnership with HOT that has grown into a two-year partnership of two projects where volunteers teach English conversation to the blind.

Today Rie is both teacher and HOT project coordinator for the English Conversation for Blind Adults project. One Saturday a month four volunteers meet with Rie’s class and talk about themselves, share stories and enjoy getting to know the students. Rie says the sessions have made her students much more motivated to study English because they want to converse freely with the volunteers. “The HOT volunteers are bringing so much excitement and richness to my students' lives”, says Rie. “I wish I could show you the awe on their faces when they touched the "locks" of an African-American lady volunteer for the first time, or the big grins when I explained a volunteer's eyes are blue and his hair is light brown!” The classes are equally as enriching for the volunteers and the experiences they bring back have made this one of HOT’s most popular projects.

Through working with Rie and her students, HOT developed a close relationship with the Japan Federation for the Blind. From that sprang the International Festival for the Blind at the 2008 Day of Service and HOT’s newest project, English Conversation for Blind High School students at the National School for the Blind Affiliated with Tsukuba University. Each session HOT volunteers introduce themselves to students from the school’s International Exchange Club in simple English talking about how long they have been in Japan, hobbies, profession. Then the students ask questions and practice basic-to- intermediate-level conversation.

Volunteers at Senior Home during the Day of Service
Volunteers at Senior Home during the Day of Service

Partner Agencies Hands On Tokyo has recently expanded its partnerships by adding new projects with The Tokyo Blind Association, Blind School and a Senior Home. These new projects enable us to provide more opportunities for registered volunteers to serve the Tokyo community.

Day of Service 2008 The Day Of Service 2008 held October 4th, was a huge success with 263 volunteers working together in five projects throughout the city providing 996 hours of community service at our partner organizations! With the support of enthusiastic volunteers and the financial contributions of individuals and corporations we organized the following activities: -Playground Renovation at Children’s Home -Art Lesson at Children’s Home -Festival at Senior Home -International Festival for the Blind -Sports Festival for Special Olympics Motor Development Skills Athletes

End of the Year Party We held a party December 12th with our supporters, partner agencies and corporate sponsors to celebrate the end of a very successful year for Hands On Tokyo, and to raise money for two of our NPO partners to purchase much-needed items on their holiday wish list.

Volunteers at Playground Renovation during the Day of Service
Volunteers at Playground Renovation during the Day of Service
Volunteers at International Festival at Japan Blind Association
Volunteers at International Festival at Japan Blind Association

Hands On Tokyo has about 200 registered volunteers with 17 different nationalities, as of December 19, 2007. Since we started our first project in March, 2007, about 500 volunteers served for more than 1100 hours!

On September 29, 2007, Hands On Tokyo had the first annual "Day of Service" and accomplished three projects by about 120 volunteers. Those projects are:

(1)Distribute fliers of soup kitchen and some food to homeless people

(2)Rebuilt the yard at nursery for 0-2 year old babies who can not live with their parents

(3)Having festival at Senior home

Thank you so much for your generous support!


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Organization Information

Hands on Tokyo

Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo, n/a - Japan
Website: http:/​/​
Hands on Tokyo
Project Leader:
D. Steven Lin
Board President
Tokyo, Japan

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