FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC – April 26th 2011 - JAPAN RELIEF EFFORT: UNEXPECTED DONATIONATIONS AID STUDENT VOLUNTEER
Following the massive 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11 2011, Japanese-Canadian June Fukumura has been organizing a trip to the devastated areas in the Tohoku region of Japan to volunteer during the summer. The images of devastation hit close to home as June spent many childhood summers in Japan and had spent a year teaching English in Tokyo only a year earlier.
Her desire to volunteer in Japan started out as a small aspiration but has now turned into a solidified project thanks to the generosity of Andy Mukai, the Japanese owner of local travel agency MYK Enterprises. The unexpected donation for a round trip flight to Japan was offered by Mukai himself over the phone one morning. “It was an amazing surprise” says June who leaves on May 18th and returns on August 3rd. Mukai, who is a long-time friend of June’s father, heard of her efforts from the Japanese community and decided to donate the tickets for the cause.
June will work with two groups while in Japan.The first is Teachers For Japan, a non-profit group led by English teachers Kyle Maclauchlan and Greg Lekich located in Sendai, and a local organization specific to rebuilding schools and helping kids in the Miyagi prefecture. The generosity of people helping one university student achieve her goal of volunteering in Japan has extended overseas as well. One of the members has offered me free accommodation along with some food and supplies for the whole summer” explains June who will spend the majority of the time in Sendai.
The second group she will work with is called Youth For 3.11, a non-profit organization designed specifically for university student volunteers. Their Students with Sleepingbags program provides basic necessities such as food and water, accommodation, and transportation for volunteers who are eager to go to the heard hit areas. Students will help clear out rubble, cook, and sort and distribute donated goods to people in the shelters.
June, who explains that she has, “never done anything like this”, hopes to learn more about volunteering so that she can inspire other students both locally and abroad. She would also like to sincerely thank everyone who has helped her in her efforts: “I am so grateful for everyone’s support and I hope to share this compassion to the people in Japan”.
Donations can be made through PayPal via the www.teachersforjapan.org website; all donations will be used directly for disaster relief.
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