Let’s make 2018 a great year! Deciding to take up volunteer work is not just a popular New Year’s resolution but is also a great way to meet new people and give back to your community. For those interested in exploring Japanese culture here in Phoenix, here are some organizations that could use a helping hand:
Japanese Friendship Garden
We often feature the garden on our page. It is such a lovely place to experience a slice of Japan here in Arizona. The garden hosts regular events and classes at reasonable prices, or patrons can choose to explore the garden at their own pace.
What better way to offer support than to volunteer? The garden is looking for helpers to assist with tea ceremonies, giving guided tours, special events, gardening and more. Note: volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.
Visit the garden’s Volunteer Page to find more information and download an application.
Japanese Culture Club of Arizona
The Japanese Culture Club’s mission is to “educate the public regarding Japanese Culture through goodwill.” In addition to posting Japanese related events on their website, this non-profit also sponsors and hosts cultural activities here in town. The club regularly looks for volunteers “to assist with special program setup, events, and general club administration assistance.”
Visit the club website for more information and to contact the board members to ask about volunteering.
Our state’s largest Japanese cultural event, the Arizona Matsuri, is taking place on February 24 and 25, 2018 at the Heritage Science Park in Phoenix. Every year the festival organizers are looking for volunteers to help events run smoothly during the weekend. Volunteers are slotted in four-hour shifts, so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the festival as a guest before or after helping out.
Interesed volunteers can sign up on the Arizona Matsuri website.
Host a Student from Japan
There are many non-profit organizations looking for host families in the greater Phoenix area. High school aged students from Japan as well as countries all around the world come to experience American culture and improve their English skills by living with Arizona families and attending local schools. Families in turn learn about their students’ cultures and develop lasting relationships.
I personally recommend hosting through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) after working for the organization and hosting a student from Japan through the organization. (Pictures here!) The non-profit offers a solid support network and has been around since 1947.
Other popular organizations include Educatius and the American Homestay Network (for college students). Before deciding to host, though, be sure to thoroughly research the organization and the commitment involved when becoming a host parent.
Thank you in advance for helping to support your community! Feel free to post additional volunteer opportunities in the comments section below.