ALT Charity Groups
This page contains an overview of the charity groups which are or have been active in Akita. The organizations which this page covers are:
Everest of Apples
In 2002, JETs in Akita and Aomori prefectures banded together to create a group called “Everest of Apples”, working with the Nepal Education Support Trust (NEST), which provides educational support to disadvantaged communities in Nepal. JET volunteer committees in the 2 prefectures organized fundraising events to benefit schools in Nepal through NEST. Volunteers were also able to organize group trips to visit the schools they supported.
Room to Read
- See: Room to Read
Under the leadership of Lauren Messing (Director, Everest of Apples-Akita 2004-2008), the Akita branch of Everest of Apples began to work separately in 2006 when she first learned of Room to Read and was inspired by its fit with the Akita group’s goals. Continuing and expanding their fundraising event calendar, they went from raising about 300,000 yen in their first year to over 1,000,000 yen for Room to Read in 2007, also joining fundraising forces with JETs in Oita prefecture. In 2006-2007 they sponsored the construction Shree Jhuwani Secondary School in the Chitwan District of Nepal through the Room to Read. In 2008-2009 there were plans to fund the construction of three reading rooms throughout Southeast Asia. Room to Read continued as the charity organization in Akita until 2011, and donated their profits exclusively to the international arm of that organization.
During the years that they were active, Akita Room to Read partnered with the JETs in Ōita prefecture to donate money towards building and maintaining the following schools:
- St. Mary's Preschool in the war torn area of Mannar in Sri Lanka was completed (map). Picture of the school as well as a full report can be found here. A plaque on the outside of the school notes the following:
- "This school was established through the fundraising efforts of Oita and Akita Prefecture JETs in Japan in conjunction with the local community and Room to Read. It is dedicated to the children of Sri Lanka, in whom lies a bright future through the power of education. “Books give not education or wisdom where none was before. But where some are, there reading makes it more.” - Sir John Harrington"
- Shree Jhuwani Secondary School in Nepal - Completed in 2008
- A plaque on the school reads: "This school was established with the cooperation and efforts of the local community, Room to Read, and JET Programme participants, students and citizens of Akita and Oita prefectures, Japan."
- Prajwal Shiksha Sadan English Lower Secondary School in Nepal map. Read more at Everest of Apples
Akita Room to Read has also supported:
- Room to Read is an international charity founded in 2000, focusing on literacy and gender equality in education for children in developing countries. The group builds schools and libraries, and provides scholarships. The Akita JET community has supported them since 2007.
- volunteerAKITA' was founded in April 2011 in response to the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, bringing together ALTs and the Akita community to continue the relief effort. Their projects include “The Fruit Tree Project” and “The Big Clean”.
- Smile Kids was founded by ALTs in 2008. Through their “Tokoku Kids Project”, they aim to provide immediate and long-term material and emotional support to orphanages, in areas affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
- The Akita JET Wiki is an ongoing community project created by JETs for JETs, about life in Akita as an ALT or CIR. As a resource for new and current JETs, the wiki also provides a calendar of events and a forum.
Akita Association of JETs
In Late 2010, Akita Room to Read was looking to expand its activities to other groups, and decided to change their name so they would have more flexibility in their donations. They changed their name to Akita Association of JETs (AAJ). Although the original aim of moving away from Room to Read was to support local charities such as orphanages here in Akita, a large portion of it's profits have since been donated to reconstruction efforts in the areas affected by the March 11th Earthquake.
In June 2015 it came to light that Kenneth Grant, a 4th year ALT in Oga (2011~2016) and the joint AAJ chairman at that time, had embezzled funds from 3 events, 2014 Welcome Party, 2014 Halloween Dance Party and 2015 St. Patrick's Day Party totalling ¥685,116. For a summary of how this situation was dealt with, see this statement released by the 2015-2016 executive committee.
- See: Charity Akita
In light of the scandal, AAJ ceased operations and a new organization, Charity Akita, was created in its place for the 2016 year.
The following is a list of events that have been run by charity organizations in Akita.
- Welcome Party (September)
- Akita Orientation Tatami Party (Mid August) - The new cats of Akita gather during their first night of orientation for a night of good food and drink, all for a great cause.
- Lake Tazawa Camping (Late September) - Camping out under the stars on the shore of Lake Tazawa is a perennial good time.
- Halloween Dance Party (Late October) - AAJ's largest fundraising event, roughly 200 people descend on Akita City for a night of costumed revelry.
- Mid-Year tatami Party (Mid October) - Same as the orientation tatami party, this one is held in the education center on the first evening of the ALT Skill Development Conference.
- Christmas Caroling (Mid December) - A relatively recent development, JETs gather in from of Akita station for an afternoon to sing Christmas carols for passersby in the hopes of raising money for a nearby orphanage.
- Appi Ski Trip (February) - Appi Ski Resort in Iwate hosts JETs for a weekend while they show off their skills on the slopes.
- St. Patrick's Day Party (March) - Usually held around St. Patrick's Day at Club LIVESPACE四階 in Akita City. Decorations and costumes are all about the green.
- Akita International Sumo Basho (Late June) - The Akita Community's longest running event, participants from all around Tohoku (ALTs and Japanese) come together to learn about the rules of sumo, and get a chance to battle it out in the ring for a chance at the title of Yokozuna.
- Goodbye Party (July)
- Spring Carnival - A one time event
- Summer/80's Dance Party
- Pub Quiz & Soup Curry Night - A one time event
- Black Hearts Masquerade Cocktail Party - A one time event
- Hanami Tea Party - A one time event