For my community engagement I have participated in the snow club in YIS. The snow club is a club where we plan ski trips and raise money for the NPO Chill Japan. In the club I have participated in buying tickets, volunteering at the Burton sale and going to the Chill Japan weekend in Iwate. The Chill Japan weekend is an event done once per year where volunteers came to teach kids who come from the Tohoku region, which was affected by the 3/11 earthquake in Japan. And this was a big event because these children have had a rough time, some of them have lost parents or been displaced, and have seen traumatizing things. They also don’t have many opportunities to do things that many children would do. The whole point of this trip was to give this to these children and to make sure that they have fun, to make sure that they feel like a part of this world, which all adds to their mental wellbeing. And by teaching them to snowboard and participating in activities, I believe me and the other volunteers have achieved this goal.
I believe this trip has deepened my understanding and connection to this community. These kids have lost a lot and don’t live a childhood like everyone else, but they are still capable of being kids, we just need to give them that opportunity. And it’s important that we as volunteers give these kids that opportunity, that may mean giving up some private time. As long as these kids get that experience it’s a sacrifice me and others are willing to make because of this experience. I believe my progress report and reflection shows my understanding and connection to this community.