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August 3, 2011 / Mika Riedel

Volunteers Volunteer

We have been receiving a lot of help from volunteers at the Ishinomaki Children’s Refuge Center.

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Future teachers from the Miyagi University of Education have been volunteering at the Center. The Rainbow Crayon program taking place at the refuge centers is a real teaching experience for these university students. You are face to face with these children who have experienced difficult times. There are no planned out syllabi or teaching materials. You simply treat these individuals as individuals. We are impressed by these strong-hearted children, who live day by day. 

For an infant, even  a child a few years older than him is a teacher.

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We call the people who lead the Rainbow Crayon program an MC. They spend time with the children and engage in conversations. You don’t need to be particularly smart or charismatic to be an MC. Even if you aren’t confident at the start, with some experience anyone is able to lead. As an MC, you don’t have to be perfect. It’s even okay if you are impatient or make mistakes. Through laughter and embarrassment, we spend time together.

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Even if the MC makes mistakes, none of the children would find it embarrassing. At first I didn’t know the ropes and fumbled around. But after being an MC several times, I got used to it. And with time the children began to listen to me. I would like all of our volunteers to slowly become accustomed to leading the children themselves.

When a new volunteer volunteers to be an MC for the day, I show them how I do it. Then, the next day, he or she gives it a try and I assist and observe them. By the third day, the new MC leads the group alone from beginning to end. I think that leading the group of children from the beginning to the end is a really valuable experience. Even if it you become overwhelmed, if you are able to lead these children, before long you’ll have a lot of self-confidence. Even if you are a little awkward as an MC as long as you do your best, the children will notice and follow you.

Written by Kodomo Hinanjo Club on 4/5/2011.

Translated by Samuel Haymann and Kayoko Hirata.

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