Take Part Concept
One of the key components of our program is to provide homes with as many enriching—and continual—experiences as possible. What exactly does that mean? The areas that we have identified as critical to a child’s development are broken into roughly 4 categories, including:
Learning, Arts, Sports & Technology
These are all areas of support that can feed into a child’s self-confidence, self-exploration, and at the end of day, help to empower them and provide them with the courage to dream of a better life. By partnering with various individuals, companies, other NPOs and business organizations, we look to provide a variety of support programs under each category. This is our multi-pronged approach—where we need a combination of an individual’s time and sometimes their special expertise—but also we look for product donations, as well as donations of special services for these children. And finally, we also rely on funding—through grants, individual donations, as well as corporate sponsorships to help pay for some of these programs.Here specific examples of support across the LAST categories:
Higher Education Scholarship Pilot Program
Although not unique to just children’s homes, children living in homes do face a multitude of challenges to even begin thinking of attending university or technical school. For those children who do possess the ability to pass exams, show good grades, etc., the next challenge is funding. There are forms of government support but it typically does not cover the entire 3 or 4-year period of schooling.
Often times a child will take a part-time job to cover parts of tuition/living costs, but the stress of trying to juggle both a job and school work, without a consistent 1:1 role model or support of parent/family member increases their chances of dropping out of university. With this knowledge, Living Dreams launched a pilot scholarship program for a design school student in 2010. By working closely with the student, the children’s home and other NPO support organizations, full tuition costs and regular 1:1 mentoring has been granted to this student. The student is in the second year of school and showing wonderful progress. In addition, this student also ‘gives back’ by volunteering at our Designing Artists Academy.
One of our goals at Living Dreams is to help improve the chance of a child going to university and actually graduating! Recent statistics show that only 9% of kids from children’s home attend university, compared to a national average of nearly 50%. And a study conducted by the National Children’s Home Association showed that in 2005, 12% of children who attended university dropped out after one year-due to “financial reasons”, “unable to “catch up with study”, and “unable to adapt to school life”. Which means along with funding, most children entering university need a support system of some form.
The idea behind the Scholarship Fund program is to help remove the financial burdens for motivated kids and also ensure they have some kind of consistent mentor in their life, to help them through their school journey successfully.
Future Support Needs
- Tuition support for Year 3 of design school scholarship student (approximately ¥1.3million)
- Expansion of the scholarship program to reach more children in 2012 and 2013; target is 2 more students (yearly tuition costs averaging ¥2.5-3 million for 1st year; ¥1.2-2million from Year 2)
Exam Cram Support
Overview Exam Cram Schools exist in Japan to help children improve their overall academic success throughout grade school through high school, and for many, Exam Cram sessions help improve their chances to attend and graduate from higher education institutions.
Living Dreams would like to support motivated students living in children’s homes with funding for Exam Cram tutoring sessions or (for high school students), exam preparatory classes.
2011 & 2012 Support Needs
- Approximate costs for 5 Exam Cram preparatory classes = ¥250,000 x 10 children in 2011 & 2012
To find out more about how you can support these learning initiatives please please fill out the below inquiry form.
Designing Artists Academy
- July 27 – August 7 2009
- July 26 – August 6 2010
- July 27 – August 5 2011
In 2009, with support from Tokyo International School and Barclays Capital, along with many other corporate sponsors, Living Dreams launched the 1st annual summer arts program for under-served kids living in children’s homes across Tokyo. The first year featured a small and focused arts program reaching approximately 60 children across the two-week period, ranging in age from 5 – 16. 2010 delivered a similar summer program featuring several new workshops but with many familiar artist volunteers returning to teach the kids. Many children who attended the first camp joined us again in 2010.
Working with talented local and international artists, sessions are developed for the various age groups. General sessions and workshops typically include: hip hop dance, African drumming, ‘clowning’, Yoga, cheer dance, Aikido, photography, painting, fashion design, sketching, crafts, and collage.
Upon completion of camp, children have a unique opportunity to celebrate their participation at Designing Artists Academy with an evening designed especially for them. Together artists, volunteers and children have a chance to share their work and experiences from camp.
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!
2012 Support Needs
Funding is needed each year for the camp, and in 2012 we hope to expand our camp offerings enabling older children to select specific areas they want to focus on (dance, music, photography, etc…) while still offering the general sessions for the younger kids. The following estimates are based on 80 total children + staff.
- 35-45 Artists / volunteer travel expenses for 12 days ¥300,000
- Art supplies (paint, brushes, paper, easels, digital cameras, various crafts materials, dance mirrors, A/V support etc.) ¥900,000
- Camp lunches for children and staff ¥900,000
- Camp transportation for children ¥250,000
- Misc. office supplies and printing ¥70,000
- Week #1, 5-7 extra volunteers needed
- Week #2, 10-15 extra volunteers needed
For more information on how you can help support Designing Artists Academy 2012, please fill out the below inquiry form.
Winter Snowboarding Program
In 2010 with some support from Northstar, Norikura, Learn-to-Ride, and The Chill Foundation, we kicked off our annual winter snowboard program for one of our children’s homes. 19 kids were treated to a weekend adventure of snowboarding lessons, lift passes, lodging & food accommodations, bus transportation, and new ski coats (where needed).
As with many of our sports-related programs, one of the goals is to get these kids out of the city life and into nature—as it’s a rare occasion that a home is able to send kids outside of Tokyo. And by making this program an annual event—and providing program access to the same homes, this gives the homes something exciting to look forward to each winter. In addition, this type of weekend getaway provides children with practical lessons and mentoring.
2010 & 2011 Program Review
- Total program participation of 47 children (ages from 6-17) + approx. 5 home staff members from two homes; second year in a row for one home
- Northstar’s Norikura and Learn-to-Ride arranged for lessons and other scheduled activities for the children (rock climbing, guided tours)
2012 Support Needs
To cover the same two homes as 2010 and 2011, and potentially expand access to one new home, we are looking at approximately ¥19,000 per child = ¥1.3million for 70 total participants in March 2012.
Sports Tour Day
This is a new program for spring 2011, offering a full day’s schedule of several fitness and sport activities for children to enjoy and experience for perhaps the first time. Led by volunteer professional coaches and instructors, 65 children will have the opportunity to participate in 2 sessions of their choice at Tokyo International School. The goal is to host this program twice a year, in the spring and late fall.
To provide kids with full day program of sports and fitness—and to help introduce newer (or perhaps less popular) sports/fitness programs to children in our network. Ultimately our goal is to encourage participation on a regular basis (either to be held at the home or nearby the home facility).
2011 & 2012 Needed Support
Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 lunch cost for children and staff (approximately ¥200,000)
Sports and Outdoor Adventure Camps
In summer 2009 we launched a couple of outdoor camp opportunities made possible by the generosity of Sports Camp of Amercia (SCOA) (www.scoacamp.com/) and Canyons Outdoor Adventure Experiences (www.canyons.jp). SCOA offered scholarships to two boys last summer to their 4 day overnight camp in Izu. Another home had the opportunity to experience a day of rafting in Gunma with guides from Canyons.
Being able to offer experiences in nature, outside of everyday city life is something we want to expand on in the coming years. Children’s homes in Tokyo don’t have many opportunities to get out of the city, so our focus is to help make this happen each summer, as well as other months during the year. By working with partners such as Sports Camp of America, Canyons, and English Adventure (www.english-adventure.org), we can tailor programs for our homes that combine sport activities, experiences in nature, as well as the opportunity to practice English if desired.
2010 Program Review
- SCOA camp: 4 day, 3 nights, full scholarship for two boys age 9 and 11. They experienced an American-style sports camp with American counselors. Activities focused on team building and cultural exchange using different sports such as flag football, cheer dance, soccer, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, etc. In addition, they also experienced traditional American camp activities such as Capture the Flag, potato sack races and s’mores around the campfire.
- Canyons rafting & BBQ adventure: 7 children + 1 home staff member had the opportunity to go rafting for the first time, led by experienced and professional guides. Rafting was followed by a BBQ.
2011 & 2012 Needed Support
- 2012: we are looking to send 20 kids from one home to an English Adventure camp in Chichibu, Saitama http://www.english-adventure.org/index.php; 4-day, overnight camp format will be tailored to fit the needs of the participating home. Cost per child is ¥65,000.
- 2012: we are looking to send the same 8 kids who attended in 2011 + 8 new children to one of the SCOA camp sessions in summer 2012. Approx ¥52,000 per child.
To find out how you can support one of these programs, please fill out the below inquiry form.
TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT NEEDS
“Digital Natives” Technology Initiative
Established Fall 2008
Through generous 2008 and 2009 grants made possible by the AT&T Foundation and AT&T Japan (25,000.00 USD), Ritz-Carlton Tokyo (¥1.5 million), and Tokyo American Club Women’s Group (¥1million), the Digital Natives project launched in winter 2009 in collaboration with Living Dreams. Since then, we have received additional support from Barclays Capital, American Chamber of Commerce Japan (ACCJ), Merrill Lynch, and Asie au Coeur.
Digital Natives is a program that purchases and installs NEW computer labs at our network of children’s homes based on specific needs. In general this computer lab includes per home:
- 5-10 new computers and computer racks
- 1-5 color printers
- Internet Service Provider installation
- Software and security tracking/filters
- IT tutorials, skills training
Our goal is to continue to secure sponsorships across the project to help with product donations, service support, and IT implementation. With increased ‘Corporate Responsibility’ sponsorships and discounts, our initiative will be able to reach additional children’s homes throughout Tokyo.
Most children’s homes have little access to technology and IT education. Some homes are not even connected to the Internet. Many homes have old equipment and software. Often times, there are not enough computers for children to share and use regularly. With proper equipment and knowledge transfer, the objective is to empower these children and help improve their overall computer skills. Access to the Internet can be a viable tool for children to communicate, explore and learn. With proper guidance, positive experiences can occur when children connect with other kids and cultures from around the world. Many of these kids living in children’s homes lack the benefits of technology most notably due to budget constraints, lack of knowledge, and security fears.
It is the shared objective of our sponsors and Living Dreams to improve the lives of these children through regular access to technology.
2009 & 2010 Program Review
In 2009 & 2010 a total of 14 homes received new computer labs:
- Total of 52 computers ¥5.5million
- 36 printers ¥1.6million
- 11 PC racks (mini desk stand for computer) ¥67,780
- 1 Internet installation fee ¥41,265
- Child protection software for 30 computers @ 8 homes ¥126,000
2011 Support Needs
Funding is needed annually to reach as many homes as possible and includes:
- PC desktop ¥140,000*
- Laptop ¥175,350*
- Color Printer ¥45,150*
- PC racks ¥7,000*
- Internet Service Provider installation fee for homes without current Internet access ¥40,000-90,000*
- New Software (ex: Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Illustrator) ¥20,000-50,000*
- IT implementation (actual setup/maintenance of computers at children’s homes)
*Approximate pricing per unit, based on 2010 costs
- Approximate # of homes to purchase full labs for in 2011: 4-6 children’s homes at ¥6million.
- Approximate # of homes to purchase full labs for 2012: 4-6 children’s homes
To find out more and to get involved either through donations or volunteering of time, please fill out the below inquiry form.
Staff Training Seminar Series
In 2010, with support from Barclays Capital, we launched a training program for children’s homes staff. The workshop sessions were developed by a small team of local Japanese clinical psychologists—in effort to develop efficient, dynamic, and interactive working sessions for staff members across our network of children’s homes.
Developed by trained professionals, the idea is to provide an effective forum for staff to share stories and leave each program session with proven tactics and exercises to use in their daily job. Because staff members have little time to spare, the key is to work closely with each home [in advance] to understand current issues/overall environment to effectively address challenges.
2010 Program Review
- 2 workshop sessions were developed and executed for 1 children’s home
- Primary workshop topic was staff member mental health/better team communications
- Sessions were led by clinical psychologist
2012 Support Needs
Funding for clinical psychologists time for 3 workshop sessions ¥250,000
For more information and to get involved, please fill out the below inquiry form.
Christmas Wish Program
For the past three years our Christmas Wish program has raised nearly ¥3 million, involved close to 300 people (including individuals, organizations, schools, and companies) from the local community, and has made for a bright holiday for about 340 children of all ages. This is a great bridge activity to bring together the community and children’s homes—to increase general understanding and awareness.
Because the holiday period can be especially difficult for those children living in children’s homes, this is a unique program that Living Dreams likes to offer each year. For corporations and the community at large, it’s a great introduction to Tokyo-area children’s homes, and for the children, the attention and thoughtfulness is what’s most appreciated. This is less about material gifts and more about the time spent planning with the home and visiting with the children. And since most homes don’t have much budget for Christmas presents, this is an extra treat for the kids. Normally we do a combination of one gift for each child and a special party at the home.
2011 & 2012 Support Needs
Approx. cost per home [55 children home]: with gift per child @ ¥5,000 and party = ¥330,000
To find out more and to get involved, please fill out the below inquiry form.