The past couple of months have been extremely busy for the Hands On Tokyo Teen Advisory Board. Recently, we have welcomed Aoba International School and BST to join our team and have invited them to one of our meetings to explain what Hands On Tokyo is about. We also elected our future President, Vice President, and Secretary for the coming school year. I am confident that our Teen Board will continue to grow and become and even stronger influence as the years go on.
Two weeks ago, eighteen students from the American School In Japan Hands On Tokyo group went on our annual Tohoku trip over the weekend of April 16th. First, we went to Ishinomaki to help out Saito-san’s farm. Saito-san is a farmer who Hands On Tokyo has partnered with since the earthquake hit the northern region of Japan. We sewed rice grains and placed them in the green house. This tedious job is usually done only by around four or five workers, but it was completed in just a couple hours. Everyone not only helped out Saito-san but was also able to learn about the process of farming the rice. Afterwards, we went and visited a couple of elementary schools that were destroyed in the 3/11 disaster. The teen volunteers were able to see the destruction in real life as opposed to the mere photos on television or online, allowing for a deeper connection with and feeling of sympathy for the victims of the disaster. This was a good way to inspire even more passion in the volunteers about what exactly they were there for. The next day we went to the town of Ogatsu to visit the Hands On Tokyo O-Link house and to help paint 1,000 ogatsu-ishi (a slate found only in the Ogatsu mountains) with black ink so that the people can paint them and put them together into a mural; this is to celebrate and motivate the 1,000 people who are left in this town, trying to revive the region. Each ASIJ student was able to paint his or her own message/image onto one of the small rocks, concluding our Tohoku trip. All the volunteers were extremely hard working and responsible students, making this year’s Tohoku trip very successful once again.
Last Sunday, April 24th, the Teen Advisory Board had our painting project at the Chofu Gakuen Children’s home. This project was led by Hironori Kuo and James Newton from St. Mary’s International School. The logistics and details were discussed the week before and we were able to gather over 50 students from the five international schools. We split them up into three groups: painting, gardening, and car-washing. We held a morning and afternoon session but many of the students opted to volunteer the entire day. The pool locker rooms were painted a nice summery green with the help of professional painters who have helped out the teen painting projects in the past. Through this project, the Teen Board was able to create a relationship with the Chofu Gakuen children’s home and we are planning on doing more with them in the future.
Thank you so much for all your support, which has enabled us to carry out various meaningful projects!
At the O-Link House in Ogatsu-cho
Top Left: painting the pool changing rooms, Top Ri
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