By David Ikeda
I always open each President’s Message with a line about how busy we are and then follow with a lot of “thanks”. But what can I say, we are busy and I am grateful.
First our Holiday Drive was a great success thanks to the generous donations of food, toys, clothing and money from our wonderful community of caring people. Thanks especially to the many churches and organizations that allowed us to set up boxes in prominent sections of their buildings.
I also wish to thank all of the churches who participated in the Joy of Christmas Concert at the Japanese Gospel Church. Although the attendance was down from last year we still managed to raise over $1,000. And we got to see a lot of talented singers and performers.
I would also like to welcome a new board and executive member. Mr. Terry Ikeda is of no relation to me although we have the same last name. Mr. Ikeda joined the board at the end of last year when he agreed to act as our treasurer. Terry-san is well known in the community as a successful accountant and a long-time member of Shinkikai.
Our counsellors are busy, which I suppose is both good and bad. Bad in that there are troubling situations for some in our community, but good in that our counsellors are there to help and in some situations allow our clients to even overcome their problems. And some of the problems are quite serious. According to the statistics provided by our counsellors, we dealt with 54 cases of domestic violence in 2015. This is an alarming number for a community as small as ours. The abused or their friends have to call us before we can get involved. So 54 may just be the “tip of the iceberg” so to speak.
However, I do not want to end on a grim note although the problem is serious. I wish to thank all of the people in our community who have given so generously to our organization. It has been humbling. Many donations came in December and early this year from organizations and individuals including the organizers of the Kohaku Utagasen who gave us 2,000 dollars, as well as Tak Yoshida and his wife Fumiko, who made and sold delicious udon at the same event and then gave us the profits. There were also all those wonderful volunteers who made daifuku and the many more volunteers and donors who I cannot mention here.
On the fundraising side, Mrs. Junko Yamamoto has been very busy. I will leave it to her in a subsequent article to explain her plans for JSS and to give more thanks to the many talented people who are helping bring about our first major fundraising event, ever.
Please check out her articles to see how you can help us continue doing the work that we do.
By David Ikeda