If you're wondering how you might be able to help the people of Japan, one local resident has come up with a wonderful idea to get some much-needed supplies back to her native country.
Dear Fellow Educators and community leaders,
My name is Keiko Ito (Moffett). Perhaps you know me as Senora Moffett, Miss Kay, Ms. Keiko, or as my favorite name, "Emmett and Penny's mom.". I have taught special ed, Japanese, ESL, and Spanish in Park City for a decade.
Today I write to you with regards to an idea that was started by MIndy Nelson, our dear counselor at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. MIndy approached me with "What can we do as a school for Japan?" What CAN we do? What CAN I do? What can we do as a community?
I was 28 when I got married to an American citizen and left my country to raise a family in the US. I have returned to my country once or twice every year to visit my family in Tokyo, but I have called Park City my dear home for the last ten years. In one way or another, I have devoted the last decade to our community. The community here has become my loving family away from home, and I now ask for your help for my country.
I am embarking "Park City Unites for Japan," a relief effort to help those in desperate need for a caring hand. I want to provide a hands on opportunity for our youth community to participate in this relief effort to experience how they can make a difference. My idea is to ask all schools to donate their left over spirit wear, and have students at all of our district and private schools dig into their piggy banks to "purchase" the spirit wear. As we are approaching the tail end of the school year, most schools must have a supply of left over sweatshirts with their school logo on it. To personalize the experience, each buyer of the sweatshirt can sign his/her name on it with a Sharpie. Each participating family will donate a minimum of $50 for their children to participate in the program. This parental support donation can help with the shipping of the shirts. I will personally fly to Japan with the sweatshirts and deliver them to municipalities, schools, or whatever appropriate recipient. I will take video footage of the process of the delivery until I get a shot of a Japanese school student wearing a hoodie/sweatshirt with an autographed PC school logo on it. Many times, our youth participate in relief efforts but do not actually witness their 'gifts' get to the receiving hand. I want our youth to see a smile at the other end. The Japanese student can delight in an American sweatshirt (Japanese kids LOVE American logos!), and through the recorded video footage, PC students can actually see their gifts being worn by a child in need. Nothing, NOTHING is better than a win-win situation! If deemed appropriate, and with parents' financial support, I would also be happy to take a few upper middle school/high school student reps with me.
This is just ONE idea that crept into my mind, while thinking of little people who are still in the same clothes that they were wearing on the day of the earthquake. I will have to do extensive research on how feasible it will be to transport something as bulky as sweatshirts. Perhaps you may have a better idea. I'd like to ask you to put your thinking hats on. Cooperative thinking yields great ideas.
I will be organizing a brainstorming meeting in the next couple of weeks, possibly a Friday afternoon. Location to be announced. In the meantime, please talk about this PC wide relief effort with your staff and respond to me if your school would be interested in participating.
I believe in the Power of One, but I also know that the Power of a Community is enormous. Together we WILL make a difference.
For more information, or to help organize this effort, contact Keiko Ito at firstname.lastname@example.org