JET Community Helps Raise Nearly $50,000 to Support Ishinomaki Students
Tuesday, March 11th marked the 3-year anniversary of the worst disaster to hit Japan in recent history. 3.11 is a date that few people connected with Japan will ever forget. This is particularly true for alumni of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET Program) – a unique program organized by the Japanese government that hires recent college graduates from all over the world to be assistant language teachers and international relations coordinators for local prefectural governments.
During the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, two JET participants lost their lives: Monty Dickson and Taylor Anderson. The families of these JETs have worked hard to share their stories and help the devastated communities where their loved ones lived and died. In particular, the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund was created to support the students and schools in Ishinomaki and the Tohoku region.
Since 2011 JET participants and alumni worldwide have also worked to support the disaster response, so far raising over $500,000 for the relief and recovery effort. As part of this effort the JET Alumni Association USA created a relief fund that has distributed almost $90,000 in grants for educational programs in the disaster zone.
This year, JETs mobilized again to support the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund with an online fundraising campaign entitled JETs Rally for Tohoku. In the first 24 hours, starting at midnight on March 11, 2014, Japan time, JET alumni, current JET participants, and friends around the world contributed more than $20,000 through Global Giving, an internationally recognized donation website. These funds were raised through social media and word of mouth, as well as through events in San Francisco and elsewhere around the United States.
By March 18, one week later, a total of 333 people had donated $24,238. Global Giving has pledged to match these donations, bringing the total mobilized to more than $48,000—a formidable sum demonstrating the commitment of the global JET community to the recovery of the Tohoku region. These funds will be used for a series of initiatives supported by the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund: a community library for students in hard-hit Ishinomaki, scholarships for local students, and PTSD training to assist area residents.
The JETs Rally for Tohoku fundraising website on Global Giving will be left open for regular donations which means JETs can continue to spread the word, raise funds and support the people of Japan – a country close to all of their hearts.
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