Four years ago, volunteerAKITA opened its doors in order to help bring relief to the Tohoku area devestated by the March 11 disasters. We’ve had an unbelievable time doing whatever we could to assist those in need. With our directors moving on to another country this coming April, it is time to officially close the book on volunteerAKITA.
From our initial initiatives, The Fruit Tree Project and The Big Clean, volunteerAKITA was proud to provide a way for people in the Tohoku area to support each other. The buzzword of that year was “kizuna” (絆) which means “bonds” and while we helped promote that idea, we truly felt it in our hearts. The volunteerAKITA Scholarship Fund and FAIR Takata continued our mission to provide assistance in the recovery process. As an organization, volunteerAKITA has touched the lives of both the people we have helped and the volunteers who selflessly gave up their time, money, and energy to give back to the Japanese community that we have called our home. KK and I could not be happier or prouder of what we accomplished during the last four years, and we want to thank everyone who has lent us their help in anyway.
We’d especially like to thank the founders of volunteerAKITA, Paul Yoo and Minami Ishikawa. Without their “can do” spirit, volunteerAKITA would not have existed at all. We’d also like to thank Andy Anderson and the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund for all of their support and strength despite such tragic circumstances. To Smile Kids Japan and Michael Maher-King we owe a great deal of gratitude for connecting us with orphanages in need around the Tohoku area. To Amya Miller and the city staff at Rikuzentakata, we are so happy that you invited us to your city to put on such a fun event. We hope the good memories and feelings from that day continue to spread throughout the city. Finally, to all the wonderful volunteers that helped make volunteerAKITA happen, we can’t thank you enough. Todd, Owen, Michiko, Randy, Melissa, Jeff, Anne, Alicia, Ryan and everyone else who volunteered their time or came out to our events, KK and I truly appreciate what you have done, we will never forget, and the people of Tohoku will never forget you, thank you.
The relief efforts are not over yet for Tohoku, thousands of people are still dealing with the disaster and we won’t stop supporting them even though we are leaving Japan. Please continue to think of Tohoku and those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Our hearts go out to each of you and we will always be looking for ways to help Tohoku and Japan in the future.
Thank you again.
KK Miller and Jon Hui
Co-Directors of volunteerAKITA