Monday, July 24, 2023

Volunteering at Hiroshima from July 22-23, 2023 (2023年7月22日~23日広島でボランティア)

 Volunteering at Hiroshima from July 22-23, 2023 (2023年7月22日~23日広島でボランティア)

I was given the opportunity to take part and collaborate with an organization called Miyagi Recovery Assistance Center of Miyagi. Their organization was founded four days after the March 11th, 2011 Earthquake that devastated the Tohoku Region and have organized efforts in the Miyagi Prefecture, the Fukushima Prefecture and the Iwate Prefecture to assist with recovery efforts and to provide emotional/psychological support to the children who have been affected by the disaster.
Many children were affected psychologically by the aftermath of the 2011 Disaster. As an attempt to re-instill hope and happiness in the lives of children in Japan, their organization began organizing this International Cultural Exchange English Camp from 2012, involving 100 elementary school children and 30 volunteers from across the world. Up until the year of 2016, we held camps in Miyagi, Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa. Thanks to the continued support we’ve gotten from across Japan, we now hold camps in Fukushima, Shizuoka, Aichi and Osaka as well. Hundreds of children participate in our camps every year, and a portion of the money raised annually is used to continue hosting these camps. (We also invite 10 children from the regions affected by the disaster free of charge) We continue to host these events for many reasons:
1. To invite children who live in temporary housing or have been forced to relocate from their homes due to the natural disaster to our camps for free
2. To hold international exchange events in elementary schools
3. To remind the community of the reality concerning natural disasters in Japan
4. To encourage cultural exchange and internationalization

It was a great experience to be part of their amazing programs and for this reason, when I heard that they were short of volunteers during that time, I reached out and decided to visit the beautiful place of Hiroshima to give a helping hand. We did many exciting activities including exchanging name cards, playing with water gun, bonfire and many more. Before we started the day, we had a meeting with other Japanese and international volunteer leaders. After the discussion and prepping up, we ended the meeting hand stacking our hands. 

We started off with checking the number of kids and gathering all of them inside the camp's gym. 

We also learned from the presentation slides prepared by the camp's staff as part of safety and protocols. We also were notified of the insects to be aware and careful for when we have activities outside. 

After the orientation, we did our first activity of exchanging name cards with other kids and groups. This helped to break the ice among the volunteers and also the staffs and kids. After the said activity, we had our lunch together. 

Afterwards, we head over to the next activity which was the water gun activity. All the kids had a blast and all of us were really wet, indeed. 

We also had a bonfire with kids and danced with some English songs too. 

After the bonfire activity, we had a scary and spooky night with kids wherein we wore some scary outfits. Haha. I think I did an excellent job on this one. 😂

After all the activities that we took part in, we made sure that the room was tidy and that the bed sheet, mattress and pillows were properly arranged. 

After all the activities that we took part in, we made sure that the room was tidy and that the bed sheet, mattress and pillows were properly arranged. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Volunteering at LightHouse Orphanage (ライトハウス孤児院でのボランティア活動)

Volunteering at LightHouse Orphanage (ライトハウス孤児院でのボランティア活動) 

We had the opportunity to connect and collaborate with our newest friends from Nigeria, Kenya and Japan who are now living in Malaysia. With their contribution and valuable time, we were able to motivate the orphaned kids at Lighthouse Children Welfare Home Association situated at 115, Jalan Cenderai, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We started the session with the "Building Tower" game which enabled the kids to establish teamwork within their groupmates.  
We also played the "Welcome to the World" Game wherein the kids had the chance to learn about different cultures, trivia and traditions from differents parts of the globe including Japan, Philippines, Nigeria, Malaysia and Kenya. 

We also had a bit of a chitchat and snack time in between the games to get to know each other. It was really valuable to all of the kids stories and it encourages us to do more of these activities moving forward. 
We also did the "Thanksgiving Plate" game wherein each kid was given a piece of plate with different cutout images of life, dogs, trees, foods and many more. They were asked to choose which of these photos they are thankful for and each group was interviewed of why they chose those pictures. It was amazing to listen and hear their genuine answers. Lastly, we announced the winners and had a group shot summarizing the happy and everlasting memories we had with them. 

Thank you to Mr. Abdou for introducing me to Mr. El from Mahsa University which opened new opportunities and enabled us to meet our new friends: Ms. Khadijah, Ms. Akifa and Mr. Ryoma. Thank you all for your support and kindness in making this volunteer project possible and fruitful! Thank you also to Mr. Steven for giving us the opportunity to spearhead our English Volunteer Activity with their spectacular kids. Special thanks to Mr. Ryoma for sponsoring the foods, drinks and the one-time donation. 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - IZU Velodrome in August 2021 (TOKYO2020 ボランティア - 2021年8月 IZUベロドローム)

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - IZU Velodrome in August 2021  (TOKYO2020 ボランティア - 2021年8月 IZUベロドローム)

On June 24, 2021, I received an email notification from TOKYO2020 Organizers for the dates which I could claim my uniforms and accreditation card. 

In August 2021, I started my journey as a Team Lead Volunteer for the roles of Event Services and Venue Communications. We kicked off the day having a meeting with other volunteers and team leaders. We were gathered altogether by the TOKYO2020 staffs and instructed us of the location and map of IZU Velodrome. It was a bit challenging to actually travel to and from the dome without a car but TOKYO2020 Management prepared free buses for us that we could take from common station routes around Shizuoka especially those bus routes going to IZU Velodrome. 

I have met my new friends from Japan and America and they are also Team Leaders gathering other groups of volunteers. This was the photo we took during the men's cross-country mountain biking event from which Tom Pidcock was announced the champion. 

This photo below was taken as part of our team collaboration with the ALSOK Security, they were very friendly and accommodating and lectured us on how to properly manage the queues with spectators and other Olympics participants. 

I had the opportunity to have group photo within our group from different parts of the Velodrome. 

TOKYO 2020 also provided us Visa cards to help us purchase anything that we need as part of our volunteer activities. 
In addition to that, we were also given free food vouchers every day for the entire volunteer activity from morning up until evening. 

Overall, it was an exhilarating experience to meet new people across the globe and to get to experience once in a lifetime opportunity such as Tokyo Olympics 2020. 😇

Friday, May 28, 2021

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Leadership Training and First Aid Training (TOKYO2020ボランティア フィールドキャスト研修開始)

 Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Leadership and First Aid Training (TOKYO2020 ボランティア - リーダーシップと応急処置トレーニング)

As for the Leadership training held on May 21, 2021, the expected schedule was also dished out to us to better equip us every single day of the Olympics event.

It was great to be asked which games we are interested to take part in, almost all of us have distinct answers, I personally chose badminton because I loved playing this sports when I was in my elementary days. 

It is important to note that Tokyo Olympics 2020's spirit should be practiced by heart: Respect, Courage, Professionalism and Change. 

As for the First Aid Training held on May 29, 2021, I like the approach of the training as they provided a lot of different scenarios of how we could provide assistance and help to someone in need. An example below shows critical thinking and brainstorming among the volunteer leaders too. In the sample scenario below, we were asked how are we going to handle a situation if we see an elderly man nearby suddenly collapsed. There is no reaction and it looks the mouth is moving but it is not confirmed if he is breathing.

At this point, everyone of us were asked the same question and asked about our insights on how are we going to handle these situations. In order to properly address the situation, the lifesaving guide was introduced to us. We were lectured on the following topics including prevention of cardiac arrest, early recognition and reporting of issues, basic life support such as cardiac resuscitation and AED) and intensive treatment of heart related cases.  

And since COVID was widely spreading during that period, we were also reminded of the important steps of dealing with it when we encounter someone who shows symptoms. 

In addition, Japan Red Cross Society also provided some links for us to review in case we need more information about emergency treatment prevention and Webcross. 

Overall, it was an exciting moment to learn with other volunteers (both international and Japanese participants). We're all looking forward to the much awaited TOKYO2020 Olympics! 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Field Cast Training Commenced, VEM and VCC Training (TOKYO2020ボランティア - フィールドキャスト研修開始、VEM・VCC研修開始)

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Field Cast Training Commenced, VEM and VCC Training (TOKYO2020ボランティア - フィールドキャスト研修開始、VEM・VCC研修開始)

After receiving the acceptance notification from TOKYO2020 Organizers that I got selected as part of its volunteer organization for TOKYO2020 Olympics, they sent their notification about the Field Cast General Training - Elearning course materials. All the training materials were written both in English and Japanese.  On May 13, 2020, they announced the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. With regard to the schedule for Role Specific Training and the timing of Uniform /Accreditation card pick up, which was originally scheduled to begin in April of 2020, they shared another schedule, I believe this decision was made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On December 12, 2020, after a whole year of e-learning courses, I was informed with the roles and venues from which I will be participating. I was assigned as a Team Leader for two departments: Event Services (EVS) Team and Venue Management (VEM)/Venue Communication Center (VCC). Under the EVS training, the topics they tackled were about the mission of EVS, EVS Specific activities, EVS Field Rules, What kinds of job responsibilities EVS entails, counter measures against COVID-19, The History and Significance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and also Diversity and Inclusion. Under the VEM/VCC training, the main goals are to learn the basic information about the competition venues such as the traffic perimeter, vehicle screening area, vehicle access and/or parking permits pedestrian screening area, etc., to understand the role of VEM which is categorized under client service, venue and infrastructure, commerce, governance, tournament service, convention products and service. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Volunteering for SIGGRAPH Los Angeles 2019 Conference (SIGGRAPH ロサンゼルス 2021 カンファレンスへのボランティア)

Volunteering for SIGGRAPH Los Angeles 2019 Conference (SIGGRAPH ロサンゼルス 2021 カンファレンスへのボランティア)

Having the chance to be part of the world's renowned conference in CG, the ACM SIGGRAPH conferences, it was thrilling to learn new techniques in computer graphics and animation. I had a chance to be part of the Student Volunteers group as a Team Leader. The conference was held from Jul 28, 2019 – Aug 1, 2019 but our team arrived in Los Angeles few days before the conference proper to discuss thoroughly the whole plan for the entire week. 

As part of being a volunteer for SIGGRAPH conferences, we volunteers are entitled to have Full Conference access (equivalent to 1100 USD or approximately equal to 164050.70 Yen) to any venues, exhibits, technical papers, and many more. Also, we were given the chance to showcase our research theme to other researchers and professors across the globe. The conference also offered free meals to the volunteers plus accommodation too! Being able to take part and manage huge numbers of volunteers from different parts of the world was a great responsibility which gave me some insights to broaden my understanding and open-mindedness in terms of diversity, inclusivity, and the like. 

And guess what!? I saw, met and had a chance to speak with Prof. Greg Turk, one of the famous contributors and researchers in the field of computer graphics. He is globally known for his significant contributions to computer graphics research and education. My master's thesis is also related to his research so it was a great pleasure to meet him in person in LA! 

We also had a chance to visit the headquarters of Walt Disney in LA! We had a grand tour inside the Walt Disney Animation Studios as well! 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Registration and Orientation (TOKYO2020ボランティア - 登録)

Volunteering for TOKYO2020 - Registration and Orientation (TOKYO2020 のボランティア - 登録とオリエンテーション)

When I was still a graduate student in Ritsumeikan, I chose to be a representative of my university and decided to apply on December 20, 2018 for the much awaited olympics in 2020 here in Japan. 
After registering my information to the official webpage of TOKYO2020 Olympics, I received their notification that I was selected for the volunteer role on May 29, 2019 and informed me about the details of the orientation and the location. Since my address is based in Kansai, the orientation was held in Osaka Social Welfare Guidance Center. The orientation was well organized with the respective schedules dedicated for volunteers who need sign language interpretation. 

The day before the orientation I received an email regarding the procedure and items to bring on the day of the Tokyo 2020 orientation session. The orientation was held on July 12, 2019 and agenda was organized in the following order:

1) Registration: At reception desk from 30 minutes before the start of the orientation session 
2) Information session and group activities (45 min): Explanations on the procedure for the orientation session (interviews and proof of identity) and future schedules will be held. Group activities aimed at allowing volunteers to get to know each other better will also be conducted. 
3) Interview (10 min): The interview will consist of two volunteers being interviewed at the same time by two interviewers. The volunteers will be asked about their thoughts on how to ensure the success of the Games. 
4) Proof of identity (5-10 min): A check will be conducted to ensure there are no discrepancies between the personal identification (original copy) used on your original application and the Orientation(Osaka-shi) for the day of the orientation session (details included on the document and validity of the document for the day of the interview will be checked).