Education  Japan Project #48043

Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans

by YouMeWe NPO
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Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans
Jump with JOEE Bringing English Lessons to Orphans

500 kilometers by bicycle across Japan in just four days? Possible? Perhaps; especially if it is for a good cause. On June 9th, I, (Ruth Ingulsrud, the founder of JOEE), set off with 37 other cyclists to ride from Tokyo to an orphanage in Kanazawa on a fundraising ride. With the help of friends and sponsors, we were raising money for educational programs, like JOEE, to help enrich the lives of children growing up in institutional care homes in Japan. These children lack of family support and can benefit from JOEE's free English lessons. YouMeWe and JOEE both work hard to help these youth launch into successful lives beyond the institutionalized care system.

I am thankful for your support which gives me wings to fly! For many weeks, I trained hard for this fundraising event, hoping that this old lady could keep up with other younger participants on this ride. All was going well until the end of the second day, with the toughest climbs behind us, when I took a fall and broke my wrist. I am now in the process of recovering with titanium plates reinforcing my bones. Typing is slow and one-handed for now but I hope to regain most of the mobility within a month or two. The good news is that we managed to raise over $3,000 in donations for JOEE and I made some wonderful connections on the ride. And with my bones set and in a cast, I was still able to join the other riders on the last day of the ride as we met with the children at the Kanazawa orphanage. My lamb puppet, Mehhgumi, and my piglet puppet, Hamlet, who had come along with me on the ride, also got to meet and talk with the children.

During training for the cycling event, remote JOEE lessons were being given every Monday to 50 - 60 children who are living in war-theatened areas of Ukraine. The children enjoyed a respite from the stresses that they face daily and had a good time meeting new puppet friends as they learned English. You can take a peek at one of the lessons through the following link on Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud's YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/D4Vqt9cjpQc

You are welcome to subscribe to my YouTube channel and share it out especially to families with kids who might benefit from free English lessons and read-alouds. And please take a look at the JOEE website to find out more about us: https://joee.jp

As always, we thank you sincerely for your incredible support of Joyful Opportunity English Education!

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Ever wonder what goes on inside a JOEE online lesson? Here's one sample of a lesson that landed on the Japanese festival of Setsubun which is celebrated before the start of spring. This year, Setsubun landed on Feb. 3, the same day as the weekly online Thursday lesson at St. Francisco Children's Home. "The children want to chase away an oni" said the JOEE helper at the orphanage. "But we don't have any soybeans."

The JOEE lesson was set to begin in a few minutes, so it was time to brainstorm. First of all, I had to locate a monster.... an "oni." I found an old costume headband from Halloween that had horns on it. Most "oni" have horns. But what about the face or the head? In homes with a mom and a dad, usually the dad will put on a mask and play the part of the "oni." The children shriek with delight as the monster enters the house and then "drive out the evil" by throwing dried soybeans at the "oni."

“Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" they yell, which roughly translates as: "Evil spirits get out! Good fortune stay in!" The pretend monster goes running away much to the delight of the children, who are feeling quite powerful at being able to drive off a monster with a handful of magic beans.

The children growing up in care homes don't have a mom and dad to act out the playful theatrics of this Japanese holiday, but they still want to join in the fun. So, we had to figure out a way for an "oni" or monster to appear. And we had to figure out a way for the children to joyfully and successfully scare that monster away.

Our solution involved a giant T-rex head, a pair of red horns and a bunch of yellow rubber ducks. Neccessity is the mother of invention, after all. The children were delighted at the chance to scare away an oni-dinosaur by throwing little yellow ducks into the air (our soybean sustitution). If you would like to see a portion of the lesson, please click on the video link below.

Lessons continue despite the ongoing pandemic. And JOEE's founder, Ruth Ingulsrud, is beginning to train for a big fundraiser coming up from June 9 - 12... the 500 km bike ride hosted by the Knights in White Lycra. Add "JOEE" in the memo on the KIWL donation site to direct funds to Joyful Opportunity English Education. And help spread the word by telling others about JOEE and its work with orphans in Japan. Thank you very much for your generous support!

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Pass the Ball
Pass the Ball

Thanks to your ongoing support, JOEE has been training new teachers and is starting lessons at two new facilities. One children's home in Chofu is starting a morning class and another home in Chiba is starting an evening class. JOEE is especially in need of funding now as we expand, and we are hoping to raise money during GlobalGiving's November 30th "Giving Tuesday" fundraiser.

The first lesson in Chiba began with excited children tumbling into the JOEE lesson room wearing pajamas and big smiles. They laughed, sang and even danced as they learned English. During part of the lesson, they threw balls to each other while calling out, "Throw!" and "Catch!"

The ball-loving dog puppet, "Jones," added to the excitement as helped the children learn. Guessing games with bags and balls kept the kids engaged. At the end of the lesson, the children sang the "Goodbye Song" while waving and clapping their hands to the music.

Children in the upper level classes are already speaking complete sentences in English and their recall of vocabulary words is increasing. Being able to learn a second language and interacting with caring adults is resulting in an increase in confidence in these at-risk kids. The world does not always treat orphans kindly, and these children need every encouragement and advantage we can give them. 

JOEE English lessons are one way to help these deserving youth get a head start in language studies and gain the experience and positive support that will help them launch successfully into the working world when they must exit the care homes at age eighteen.

Please consider donating again to JOEE or perhaps even consider a monthly gift to provide ongoing support to our nonprofit foundation. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your generosity.

Warm wishes,

Ruth

Please note: Faces of actual orphans may not be shown for privacy purposes.

Lessons are fun for teachers too!
Lessons are fun for teachers too!
Saying "Goodbye" Online
Saying "Goodbye" Online

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Turtle Sidekick
Turtle Sidekick

We are very happy to report that JOEE is set to quickly expand its teaching opportunities within orphanages in Japan. Eleven teachers have joined our ranks of volunteers and are hard at work training with their puppet sidekicks to be ready for bringing joyful lessons to new orphanages as things start to open back up in Japan. The pandemic is nearing its end and facilities are getting ready to open their doors to new enriching programs for the children in their charge.

Last week, we were invited to meet with 50 heads of orphanages in Chiba in order to present the JOEE program for their consideration. We also met with a facility in western Tokyo near a large international school that also expressed interest in helping JOEE have a positive impact on children who need the sheltering care of an institutional home.

This fall, we hope to be ready to start teaching English to children in many new facilities using puppets, games and songs. Getting a head start in language learning will help these children on so many levels. Besides having fun while learning, they gain confidence in themselves and skill in English as they learn pronunciation at a native level and at an age when they are able to quickly acquire new language skills.

Thank you so very much for your ongoing support of JOEE! These children are treasures and an especially valuable resource in Japan with its aging population and decrease in number of children being born. Please help us continue to support and educate the disadvantaged children of Japan.

2 New JOEE Teachers with Director
2 New JOEE Teachers with Director
Lion Voice Practice with New JOEE Teacher!
Lion Voice Practice with New JOEE Teacher!
Puppet Donations from Folkmanis
Puppet Donations from Folkmanis

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Christmas Gifts at St. Francisco Children's Home
Christmas Gifts at St. Francisco Children's Home

Thanks to your continuing support, JOEE is now teaching lessons at an additional orphange, this time in Nagoya at the Wakamatsu-Ryo home. Although institutions in Japan still limit their visitors out of caution during the pandemic, JOEE continues to bring joyful English lessons via Skype to young children. “I’m so happy!” is what many of the children say while sitting in their little chairs waiting for the lesson to start. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me as well! Bringing joy along with education is what JOEE is all about. At Christmas time, with the help of two international schools in Tokyo, we were able to provide a bag of gifts to every child in two orphanages!

Besides teaching lessons for free at three separate orphanages, JOEE’s founding director, Ruth Ingulsrud, also tutors students and welcomes other paying teaching jobs that direct funds into JOEE to keep our little nonprofit going. We especially appreciate our three monthly donors whose regular donations help us to continue. Please consider a gift to JOEE during the "Little by Little" matching fund campaign from March 8 to 12!

Along with teaching English using puppets and games, JOEE also produces teaching videos. Here is an example of a JOEE original song, “Put Your Hat On,” made with the help of volunteer students at an international school and some helpful puppets: https://youtu.be/0gLZufMpJ1s

"Sandy Claws" the Lion Visits at Christmas
"Sandy Claws" the Lion Visits at Christmas
Joyful Volunteers Help JOEE
Joyful Volunteers Help JOEE
Lessons Taught with Friends via Skype
Lessons Taught with Friends via Skype

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Organization Information

YouMeWe NPO

Location: Nakano-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @YouMeWe7
Project Leader:
Michael Clemons
Nakano-ku, Japan
$34,902 raised of $50,000 goal
 
311 donations
$15,098 to go
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