By David Ikeda
The older I get it seems that time goes by increasingly faster and faster. Indeed, time is moving so fast that the topics I am writing about for this message that will be occurring in the future for me now will have already passed before the article is published.
At the time of writing this message I am just preparing the presentation I will be making at the Annual General Meeting which will have been completed, hopefully successfully, on May 14.
The issues we will be highlighting are our financial situation as well as the staffing changes that occurred last year. Regarding the latter, we replaced one staff member and created a new position of community outreach worker or counsellor’s assistant. By adding the new staff we hoped to reduce the workload of our full-time counsellor Takanori Kuge. Unfortunately the opposite has happened. As I have noted in previous articles I cannot remember a time when our staff have been so busy with so many serious, emotionally draining and time consuming cases. Without a doubt the most important presentation will be from counsellor Takanori Kuge.
In other business, we will have also completed our largest fundraising event, the Toronto Challenge Walk and 5 kilometer run. Although I am very bad at predicting the future in most things, I know that even though the event is over a month away, it will be our most successful. I know this for a fact because we have already received an amazing sum from an amazing man and his family. The Salden and Arthur Highland Foundations as well as personal donations from the funds’ director Mits Ito (and his sons) total $22,000 for the 2015 Toronto Challenge.
However, if you can, please still donate to Toke Suyama our lead fundraiser for the Toronto Challenge. As I said earlier in the article, our counsellors have been swamped with serious cases that take up a lot of time and resources. And the busier and more reputable and popular we become the more we have to spend. Ours is a human resource based operation. Counsellors give time and expertise not prescriptions and how-to-do manuals. Everyone is working lots of overtime hours, indeed a lot of it pro bono. We cannot nor should not expect our staff to do this, but with your generosity we can continue to offer the professional services our counsellors and staff can provide without having to resort to cutbacks or waiting lists. So thank you in advance for your continued support and generosity.
I usually like to end things on a happy note, so I would like to close with some very good news. The Government of Japan is conferring a high honour on one of our own. Jean Peasah, a former counsellor and board member will be receiving the Consul General Commendation.
A special presentation is scheduled next month, on June 2 , whereby the Consul General of Japan will personally present the award at his official residence. I would be remiss without thanking our part-time counsellor Junko Mifune who spearheaded the effort to have Jean-san, as she is affectionately known at JSS, recognized for all of her contribution to our organization and clients. Thanks Junko-san and congratulations to Jean-san.
Be well and talk to you next time.
By David Ikeda