News

Living Dreams mentioned in Japan Times for its work in Children’s homes in Fukushima

by           The Japan times has kindly recognized Living Dreams in their article on Volunteer Works in Fukushima. To quote Japan times”Living Dreams has been running summer arts camps for children in Tokyo for the past seven years. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, the group realized there was a need to help children in Tohoku, and reached out to several homes in Fukushima Prefecture. Since the logistics made bringing the children to Tokyo for the summer camps too difficult, the current director, Michael Clemons, and his team explored other avenues. The result was the Digital Natives program, which aims to put a computer in the hands of every child in the homes. In a society where most youngsters are media savvy, only 5 percent of those in children’s homes have access to computers and the Internet. This holds them back in many ways.” Read more at Japan Times- Living...

Remembering 3/11 Four Years Later

by How We Started Immediately following the devastation of 3/11, we had people from all over the globe emailing Living Dreams, wondering how they could help all those stricken in the Tohoku region. In those early days following 3/11, as we had no presence in Tohoku, our organization could only direct inquiries to reputable first-responder NPOs who were already deployed in the region. From the inception of Living Dreams, it was the goal to expand the NPO beyond the [then-current] 33 children’s homes in Tokyo, into other parts of Japan. However, the reality was that we just didn’t have the staff resources to cast a wider reach of our services and programs. Keeping up with our Tokyo programs was already a challenge for our small organization. Due to the nature of our programs, the workload associated with each program is quite extensive and therefore, difficult to maintain a steady stream of volunteers who could consistently manage projects.  About 80% of our volunteer base at the time also had full-time jobs.   With that said, in the weeks following the earthquake and tsunami we were approached by several groups eager to sync up and support children’s homes in the disaster region. One in particular, Smile Kids Japan, was an organization in Japan working closely with the JET programme to help recruit regular teachers to volunteer at orphanages. After a week or so of intense discussions, we ultimately decided it was worth the risk to overextend our organization and see what kind of support we could offer children’s homes in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The early partnership with Smile Kids...

LIVING DREAMS “SHARING AND CARING” GALA AND FUN-RAISER

by Please click here to join 参加したい Dream Maker(ドリーム メーカー)様 拝啓、日に日に春の訪れを感じる今日この頃、お元気にお過ごしのこととお慶び申し上げます。 日頃より弊会の活動にご支援・ご協力いただきありがとうございます。 早速ではございますが、非営利法人リビング ドリームスでは来る5月15日金曜日、18時よりアクト スクエアー恵比寿において、第一回 ガラ ファン‐レイジング (Gala and Fun-Raising) イベントを開催する運びとなりましたので ここにご案内させていただきます。 本年度は昨年度に引き続き、東京・東北の各5つの養護施設において“デジタル ネイティブス”に焦点をおいた活動をしてまいります。 東京・東北の各5つの養護施設では、すでに試行事業が展開され、クラウド エコシステムが搭載されたラップトップ/タブレットを1人に付き1台配布させていただております。現状、施設の子ども達がこのような先端技術に触れながら、学習する環境は極めて乏しく、日本全体でたった5%となっております。ラップトップやタブレットからインターネットへアクセスすることにより、子どもたちの世界は広がり、またそれは子どもたちの豊かさへと導いてくれます。また、別の統計では、一般家庭の子供たちの平均50%が大学へ進学するのに対し、施設の子供たちの大学への進学率はわずか9%に止まっております。 長い人生を過ごしていく過程において、いくつもの選択肢を持つことはとても大切で重要な事. 2015年度は引き続き、配布した機器をさらに効率よく稼働させるにあたり、クラウドベースのプログラムを開発し、弊会がサポートする施設の子どもたち一人一人に、ラップトップ/タブレットを配布する事に焦点をあて活動をしてまいります。この活動には、各個人のアカウントにクラウドの設定、各施設に無線ランを設置、ラップトップ/タブレットの配布、学習プログラムの実施(Recruitキャリアパス サポート プログラム)、オフィス365、スカイプ(1対1の指導) そして、将来に必要な項目例をあげてまとめられたビデオを普及する、が含まれております。ここまでこぎつけられたのも、これまでご支援いただいた方々のおかげでございます。このプログラムについて詳細を説明するビデオがございますので、次のURLからご覧ください。 Living Dreams Website 今回このイベントを催すにあたり、先の案件を現実化するためのご支援として、10名様のVIPテーブルを¥300,000-でご購入いただければありがたく、ご案内いたしました。このスポンサーシップは、テーブル席のご購入、現金でのご寄付、またはライブ・サイレント オークションの3通りの形でご参加いただけます。ご厚意で寄せられました寄付金は、デジタル ネイティブス プログラムをさらに拡大し、最終的には全国の養護施設で過ごす子どもたち、30,000人、各一人一人の手にコンピューターを手渡すという、弊会の目的の為に使用させていただきます。 当日はたくさんの楽しいおもてなしと、施設の子供たちにクリスマス プレゼントしたデジタル カメラで撮影した写真コンテストをご用意しております。参加者の皆様に評価いただきコンテストの優勝者を決定し、その優勝者の写真は当日オークションにかけ、収益金は優勝者が過ごす養護施設に直接贈らせていただきます。 ご不明な点がございましたら、遠慮なくお問い合わせいただきますようお願い申し上げます。: [email protected] or 090-8113-8584 敬具 午後6時 シャンパン レセプション 開始 午後7時 ディナー 開始 (お料理にマッチしたワインをご用意しております) 午後11時まで、各種ご用意したエンタテインメントや音楽をお楽しみいただきます。 ドレスコード: フォーマル ブラックタイ着用 料金:     30,000円 (30,000人のホームに滞在している子どもたち1名につき1円をご寄付ください 2015年2月吉日 理事長 マイケル クレモンズ Dear Dream Maker, Thank you for your interest and collaboration with Living Dreams. We are planning our first annual Living Dreams Gala and Fun-Raising event during the evening of Friday, May 15th, 2015 at ACT SQUARE in Ebisu, Tokyo. We launched our initial pilot 1 to 1 laptop/tablet program with a Cloud based ecosystem in our initial 10 target homes (5 in Tohoku and 5 in Tokyo). Only 5% of the children in institutional group homes have access to technology. Also, only 9% of these children attend university, compared to a national average of 50%. Having choice is so important in life. Enriching and enabling these children through access to the Internet and its tools is a world opener for many of these children. We are off to a promising start with the overall cloud architecture in place with individual accounts, home wireless installation, laptops/tablets, a few learning programs (Recruit Career Path & support program), Office 365, Skype (1:1 mentoring), and video content in the cloud to provide examples of what needs to be curated in the future. We are highly encouraged by the various partners who have joined us so far. We have short video explaining this program at Living Dreams Website We are reaching out to you early to see if you are interested in securing a VIP table for ten as a partner for 300,000 JPY. Your partnership can be...

TOUCHY, PhoTohoku and Photographer Satoshi Lecture 2014/2015

by Digital Natives Workshops at the children’s homes in Tokyo and Tohoku. The workshops were led by Touchy, Photohoku and Satoshi Aoki teaching them how to use digital cameras for the photo contest they have been challenged to for our May 15th Gala in Ebisu. touchtouchy.com photohoku.org The film was directed by Matt Miller...

HUBLOT AND MASHAHIRO TANAKA IRON ARM CHALLENGE

by     Video- HUBLOT EVENT The luxury Swiss watch brand “Hublot” welcomed Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees (of Major League Baseball) as the newest member to join the star studded Hublot ambassadors… And he is the first ambassador from Japan to join the Hublot family! In order to commemorate Tanaka’s appointment, a charity event “HUBLOT X MASAHIRO TANAKA: Iron Arms Challenge” was held at the Roppongi Hills Arena. Hublot is a young and dynamic Swiss watch brand that believes in importance of sharing – sharing the success and contributing back to society – and to date, Hublot has hosted variety of charity events around the world through welcoming world-famous athletes as ambassadors: the fastest man of all time, Usain Bolt; football legend, Pele; and US National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Tanaka, who is in the world’s spotlight now, quickly joined the ranks of star players shortly after joining the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and currently plays for US MLB’s New York Yankees. Tanaka’s passion, strong curiosity, and his spirit of charity which is visible through hosting baseball classes for children with his follow baseball players – these are the values that Hublot also cherishes. Hublot, along with Tanaka, will continue to hold charity events aimed at contributing to realizing a bright future for children. A massive spectators turned out and cheered on to selected 80 people who participated in the preliminary round of “Iron Arms Challenge” charity event in Roppongi Hills; each participants challenged to outperform Tanaka’s record, 156 kilometers per hour, by...

LAW ROCKS 2014

by 1,000,000 yen was raised by a special charity concert event at the Tokyo Annual Conference of the International Bar Association 2014. A place were you could let your hair down, put on your leather pants, and prepare for a rocking good time! Come witness as bands of musically brilliant legal professionals from law firms all over the globe take the stage. They will compete for rock glory and for the benefit of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute and Living Dreams, which helps Japanese children in need! Visit us at Law Rocks! UK or Law Rocks USA to learn more about Law Rocks!...

Designing Artists Academy 2014

by Most children’s homes lack continual and varied access to arts programs. Costs of supplies, instruments, equipment, and lessons serve as the predominant barriers for children who want to participate in the arts on a regular basis. Our goal at Living Dreams is to increase opportunities and encourage kids to explore the arts. Added benefits for participating in the arts can prove to be therapeutic and mind opening for children dealing with traumatic stress and low self-esteem. Further, in a fun environment, children can learn to connect with their emotions in less obtrusive ways. At Designing Artists Academy, we offer impressive artists who are both inspirational teachers and role models. At the very core of this initiative, we hope to open children’s minds and inspire, motivate, and empower! More Information: Living Dreams: http://livingdreams.jp/main/ Video: © 2013 David Woo (Living Dreams Communications and...

Volunteers Needed for DAA 2014!

by Volunteers needed! Living Dreams’ will be holding it’s 6th annual DAA (Designing Artists Academy) summer program for children in Tokyo. We’re looking for 2 types of volunteers. 1)   Artists, musicians, athletes, dancers as well as anyone who has a hobby or talent they’re passionate about and would like to teach it to the children. 2)   General volunteers who could help support artists during the workshops, set up the classrooms, and help out with other miscellaneous tasks. Most children’s homes lack continual and varied access to arts programs. Let’s make this a memorable summer full  of fun and learning for the kids! Dates: TBD ***If you’re interested, please send us a private message!*** Here’s a short video of DAA last year. Take part! http://youtu.be/Ua6C3eBCoFI ***************************************************************************************************************** ボランティア募集中! Living Dreamsは今年6度目、子供に対するDAA(英:Designing Artists Academy)という年次夏プログラムを開催します。現在、以下のボランティアが必要です! (1)アート、音楽、スポーツ、ダンス、熱心にできる趣味を教えたいボランティア (2)ワークショップ中にアーチスト達を支える上、雑用のお手伝いができる一般ボランティア 多数の孤児院は、コスト次第で多様のアートプログラムを支え続けられない。この夏を、アート世界を中心しながら子供たちと一緒に楽しみましょう! 日程:未定 ***ご興味をお持ちの方は、Living Dreamsまで連絡ください。*** 昨年のDAAはこちらへどうそ。皆さん、ぜひご参加ください!...

Day 5 of DAA 2013 (Last Day)

by So this year’s Designing Artists Academy is officially over! After a week filled with activities like dancing, cooking, flower arranging, painting, soccer, photo taking, swimming, and so many more, both children and volunteers say their goodbyes until the next program comes along. For the final day or our DAA program this summer, we had a pretty loose schedule, keeping it as customized to the children’s craving as much as possible given the time. Since we weren’t able to have the them go into the pool on Wednesday because of the rain, they spent the whole morning swimming and really just enjoying themselves in the water. Afterwards, we went back into the gymnasium and prepared for a special pizza and fried chicken lunch! Pizza is relatively expensive here in Japan so it’s not everyday you can just go a corner pizzeria for a slice like in the U.S., so the children were pretty ecstatic. One Piece, which is an immensely popular Japanese animation, was the movie of choice during lunch and the children were simply mesmerized and nearly silent for a solid two hours. With the movie and lunch wrapped up, it was time for a few games and a few talent shows put together by volunteers and the kids. There was an amazing dance performance with the girls, and a slideshow followed by some games and farewell messages from staff, volunteers, and children. We officially ended DAA with a closing ceremony and handed each child a certificate and finished things off with a group photo. It’s truly been a rewarding experience teaching and playing the with children this...

Day 4 of DAA 2013

by A trip to Kidzania was made by our campers on Day 4. Our campers selected pavilions (like a workshop) from over 90 jobs.  There were a few campers who moved around within Kidzania by herself, and many of them formed a small group and went to different pavilions to gain hands-on experience.  The jobs our campers chose were fire man/woman, chef, driver, musician, pizza chef, dancer, camera woman and several others.  They listened to instructions given by each pavilion instructor(s) carefully, and made best of their time learning some tips at each job.  Let’s see how our campers develop their career in 10 and 20 years! Our campers earned some wages when participated in activities for the most cases.  They were given Kidzania traveler’s cheques. They went to a bank for some transaction of the cheques, so that they could go shopping.  A hair band, erasers and a few other small items were purchased by a few of our campers.  They looked proud to spend the wages they earned when shopping. Living Dreams’ fire brigade! Look at these photographers! Speedracer…or maybe just driving. Teamwork is essential when preparing gourmet...

Day 3 of DAA 2013

by So day 3 of this year’s DAA ends with another activity-filled day. Despite the rather gloomy weather outside, both children and volunteers started off the day with all smiles and energy. It’s hard to imagine the volunteers and kids growing so close to each other in only a couple of days, but it’s fantastic how these activities really brought them together. Nicknames were passed around and I guess my poor eyesight has earned me one of the names, “Glasses Man”. Well.. Anyway, due to the rain, we weren’t able to have our pool activity in the afternoon, but most of the children were okay with an indoor movie, especially when there are popsicles and other treats. Other programs on our agenda today included some colorful painting/crafts, flower arranging, and a multimedia workshop. Our usual cooking workshop had some surprise guest chefs from Ritz-Carlton help us make cookies and tarts. We can’t thank the artists and volunteers enough for their time and support this year. It’s a blast to have such a diverse group of Japanese and international volunteers. Only 2 more days to go. Kidzania tomorrow! Kids having fun painting in the arts and craft workshop. Making tarts and cookies with the help of Ritz-Carlton chefs. Cookies the children made for lunch. Goodbye gifts. Presents are always...

Day 2 of DAA 2013

by Day two of DAA consisted of some more fun activities left off from yesterday. After another round of orientation, we moved on to some free time where the children played dodgeball and other activities with the volunteers. After getting past the formalities yesterday, the rowdy children really went all out with the games. Throwing, kicking, dancing, and some other activities which really took all of the energy from us older folks. Despite the sweating, it was a phenomenal way to spend the morning. We had some amazing talents this afternoon with a ton of exciting activities like learning different styles of dancing. The children were also able to exercise a bit of creativity with a cooking workshop where they made some cakes which we shared later on for lunch. We had a great team of extra volunteers today matched through HandsOn Tokyo. We played soccer games as well as some other outdoors exercises, and for those who had enough of the humidity, there were multimedia arts programs to enjoy inside. Take a look for yourself!   Dancing workshop. Stretches again. The children were able to make cakes. Soccer time! Some Latin inspired dancing. It was quite a...

Day 1 of DAA 2013

by And…We’re off! This year’s DAA is off to a great start with a handful of motivated and diligent volunteers as well as artists who dedicated much of their time to plan and make this a wonderful program.  Today, we had around 20 children coming from 2 different homes to Tokyo International School to kick start our weeklong summer program. Upon arriving, many of them bolted from their bus seats to the gymnasium without a moments hesitation and were greeted by both familiar veteran DAA volunteers as well as newer ones. Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to pass out book bags, thermoses, and other miscellaneous goods at the start. Who doesn’t like presents? The orientation was made commencing this year’s DAA and some quick introductions were made along with copious amounts of games and questions from curious children. After a bit of stretching exercises, the kids were ready to dance and learn some cheers thanks to our talented artists. DAA’s mission is to really encourage children to become involved in various arts/crafts, and throughout the week, , workshops were held to teach the children various skills and really get their hands involved in various arts and crafts. In our first day, we had a ballet dancing workshop, a cooking workshop, a balloon modeling workshop, and a photo/video workshop. We’re looking forward to more excitement in the days to come! Onto day 2! Here’s a look: Introductions and games with new volunteers. Stretches before dancing. Ouch! Ballet workshop. The girls were particularly focused. Balloon modeling. Wacky, colorful balloons. What more can I...

Travel Instincts. A book by Jim Jensen

by Travel Instincts is the story of a six-year around the world adventure. It is a tale involving among other things, sailing a yacht across the Pacific, working in Australia, Thailand and Europe, hanging out in Goa, and volunteering on a Kibbutz in Israel. Encompassing the joys as well as the ills of low-budget travel, Travel Instincts is a look back at globetrotting before the internet connected us all 24/7. Earnings will be donated towards Living Dreams’ mission....

Barclays Operations Runners Raise Over 10,000 GBP for Orphans in Japan

by Colleagues working in the Operations team in Japan joined more than 35,000 runners in this year’s Tokyo Marathon. Carl Clarke, Tomohiko Hayashi, Catherine Matsushima, and Daniel Moriwaki successfully completed the event on 26 February and in the process raised over 1.3 million JPY – the equivalent of more than 10,000 GBP for charity. The money is being donated to Living Dreams to support their Tohoku Kids’ Support Project. The Tohoku region was devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, leaving around 100,000 children displaced. As well as providing immediate support items like clothing, housewares, emergency-preparedness equipment, and school supplies, the project also provides ongoing support such as: music therapy workshops, overnight summer and snow camps, tutoring services, computer labs, learning software, and Christmas Wish program activities. Carl Clarke, Head of Operations in Japan said: “I’m delighted we’ve raised such a significant sum of money to help better the future for children impacted by the disasters. Having visited the affected areas on volunteering trips, it is clear to me that Tohoku will need years of ongoing support. We’re grateful to all of our Barclays colleagues who have given so...

JET Alumni Association of Southern California Rallies Support and Funds for Tohoku Kids!

by During JET Alumni Association of Southern California’s (JETAASC) annual 2011 end-of-the-year luncheon /bonnenkai, the organization was able to direct their membership to Living Dreams’ Tohoku project page on GlobalGiving, donating nearly $600 within a 2-hour period! JETAASC held yet another fundraiser on March 31st, hosting a special ‘happy hour’ and raffles for attending guests. Their efforts raised an additional $800 on the GlobalGiving website. Their fundraising activities will help support kids living in 19 homes across Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures. Typical programs include: tutoring services, English Adventure overnight summer and snow camps, computer labs, learning software, emergency-preparedness equipment, and Christmas Wish programs. On behalf of our Tohoku Kids Support Project team, Living Dreams extends so much gratitude to the efforts and big hearts of JETAASC...

Japanese American Citizens League & Direct Relief International go the distance for Soma Aiikuen Children’s Home!

by As part of the Tohoku Kids Project, I have been volunteering with Living Dreams at a children’s home in Soma, Fukushima since October, 2011. In this short time I have witnessed some really incredible work due to support given to the home through Living Dreams by way of funds donated from the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and Direct Relief International (DRI). From October to March, I have seen some beautiful smiles beam across the faces of staff and children at Soma Aiikuen, due greatly to Living Dream’s brilliant support in programs to better both the health and happiness of the children living there. From the Christmas Wish program, to radioactive decontamination work, to purchasing computes for students, to helping a graduating student acquire a driving license and many other supports, these funds have made a great deal of difference to the welfare of the children and staff at the home. The JACL/DRI funds that have been donated to Soma Aiikuen really have gone a long way, not just in terms of direct applied support, but also in the form of personal, emotional support. In relation to the disasters, speaking from personal experience and from experience as a teacher in the area, I think that one of the greatest supports needed throughout the region is emotional support, which has really been enabled through the gracious work facilitated through Living Dreams. Soma is 50 km to the North of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, so there are of course concerns for children in the area with regards to levels of exposure to radiation. In each school and park...

Remembering March 11

by by Miho Walker (former director of home communications) In November 2011 I visited Minami Sanriku for the first time after visiting one of the children’s homes in Fukushima that Living Dreams is supporting. After driving from Sendai for 3 hours in the peaceful contryside, it suddenly started. The first thing I saw was a pile of cars completely crushed, a pile as high as a 2-storey house. Driving further ahead, the view opened up to the port – and all that was left was rubble after rubble, destroyed or overturned buildings, and more piles of crushed cars. For the first time in my life I saw something that was too shocking – my voice was gone and I had tears streaming down my face that I couldn’t see where I was driving. It’s impossible to describe the extent of the devastation. I’m sure that anyone who has visited the tsunami-stricken areas had the same reaction of utter shock thinking “how could something like this possibly happen?” It cannot be described. While I was up north I met Mr. Carl Williams the day before my trip to Minami Sanriku who used to be in the military and based in Japan. On March 11 he was living in the US, but went back to Japan after the tsunami because he wanted to do something to help the people in Tohoku. He now works with the Japan American Citizen’s League (JACL) and Direct Relief International (DRI) which are 2 organizations helping us at Living Dreams with our programs in supporting a children’s home in Fukushima prefecture called Souma Aiikuen. Carl is...

A Fundraiser for Tohoku Soaked with Creativity and Heart!

by Last July, Roxy Borowska and Dusty Wittman, now affectionately known as the ‘Biwa Bottle Boat Challengers’, designed and built a boat out of recycled PET bottles (nicknamed Dr. PET) and paddled their way across Shiga’s Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake! Roxy and Dusty, both Assistant Language Teachers in Shiga prefecture at the time, decided to team up for this adventure to help raise money for the Tohoku Kids Project. Most important to note here is that they did in fact make it across the lake without sinking the boat! And further, their efforts and the publicity they helped stir up surrounding their benefit boat ride helped to raise more than $6,000USD. See here for proof of their voyage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krR72Ynd7Nc&feature=youtu.be Roxy and Dusty’s fundraising efforts helped shine awareness on ways to help Tohoku children, and they did so with such tremendous spirit. Everyone at Living Dreams was truly inspired by how the efforts of two friends and teachers could rally support not only in their local community but on a global scale as well. Because of their efforts and all those who supported the Biwa Bottle Boat Challenge, kids living across 11 children’s homes in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate prefectures were able to receive a wide range of support. From outdoor sports equipment, camping gear, emergency radios and bikes to bedding, TVs, laptops, and electric fans, homes received many basic necessities requested from Living Dreams last August. Thank you from all of us at Living Dreams, and on behalf of all the kids you helped support! For more details on Roxy and Dusty’s efforts, please check out...

TOKYO MUSIC RETREAT

by by Ayane Yabui The end of August, 2011 presented itself with yet another successful and dream filled program thanks to the generous funding from Hope Initiative, Solare Hotel members, as well as the Japan Philharmonic members who dedicated their time to create a 2-day music workshop. The 3 day 2 nights program was designed for the children in the Tohoku region in hopes that music could provide the children a bridge for releasing the tension and stress carried from the 3/11 disaster, a way to appreciate music, and of course a means to have fun. On the first day, Solare Hotel members and Living Dream members and volunteers welcomed 11 children from Shirokawa Gakuen, and 3 children from Iwaki Ikueisha along with a total of 5 staff members from the homes, to Tokyo. Perhaps a little shy at first, the children listened carefully to our instructions and details on what we had planned for them. Our first stop was Kidzania, an entertainment center where children are able to experience various jobs hands-on. 3 hours didn’t seem like enough time for the children, as they proudly carried around their bank cards, “Kidzos” (the currency within Kidzania), pizza that they made on their own, or ice cream that they scooped all by themselves, while others half-jogged around the theme park trying to be a police officer, a fire fighter, or a mechanic. While they chattered away to us about their details during dinner, it was evident that they were exhausted from all the fun, when the bus back to Solare Hotel was much quieter than it had been when we...

Designing Artists Academy

2012 Designing Artists Academy (DAA)」季節が来ました! 今年も国際色豊かなのボランティア、アーティスト、企業の協力のもと、第4回目を7月23日(月)から8月3日(金)まで東京インターナショナルスクール(三田)を会場に主催します。

Meet Maya, a 7 year-old Dream Maker Who is Making a Difference!

by 7 year-old Maya Hope Saidel and her father Andrew Saidel contacted our organization after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on 3/11 from their home in North Potomac, Maryland. Their hearts were broken for the people (and especially the children) of Japan and they wanted to help. Maya quickly put that compassion to work. With a big heart, determination and support from her family and the community, Maya spearheaded the project, ‘Toys for Tohoku’—collecting hundreds of toys to send to kids in the affected regions of Tohoku. It is now our mission at Living Dreams to hand-deliver these toys and letters this summer across the 19 children’s homes we are working with in the Tohoku region. Maya is a reminder that with compassion, passion and determination, anyone can make a difference. She didn’t let the enormity of the situation deter her—she figured out what she could do within her own local community and she made it happen. We salute you Maya Saidel! Living Dreams: Many people have been so inspired by you Maya, but they would also ask, how does a 7 year-old have such a grasp of the human spirit and know how to take this kind of action–what would you tell these people? Can you explain why you came up with this ‘Toys for Tohoku’ project and how you knew you could do it? Maya: When I saw the pictures of the earthquake and the tsunami, I thought that I wanted to help. So many children had lost everything, their belongings, their house, and their relatives. It was so sad. I couldn’t imagine what I would feel...
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