Hot Dog! Youthful Donors!

Our summer fundraising efforts were given a delightful boost by an unexpected donation from a couple of youthful philanthropists. Oliver and Jun spent part of their summer hawking hot dogs at a small lakeside stand. As hot doggers, they are not paid for their time, but they are allowed to keep any “tips” that end up in the tip jar on the counter. When the clink of coin is heard in the jar, a cheer goes up from the busy staff inside the hot dog stand. “Yay! Thank you! Domo arigatou gozaimasu!”

This year, JOEE would like to give a rousing cheer right back at them, because instead of keeping their tips and buying some cold “ramune” soda or other delicious summer treats, these two young gentlemen decided to donate ALL of their tips to JOEE, to help support educational programs for kids without parents in institutional homes. Needless to say, the parents of these two kind souls are cheering for them as well.

Thank you very much, Jun and Oliver! Your generous bag of change will help create positive change for many kids this year. JOEE welcomes any donation, large or small, and we are so encouraged by seeing generous hearts and habits develop at such a young age. Hot diggity dog!

If you would still like to donate to JOEE, the Global Giving Fundraiser is still up and running and can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

Thank you for your generous donation!

I Spy… a JOEE Quilt!

A warm and heartfelt THANK YOU to Julie Fukuda, master quilter, who donated this amazing hand-stitched quilt to JOEE this month. Wow! We are so grateful and we have so many plans for using this wonderful quilt during our lessons once they start up again.

This quilt is an “I Spy” quilt, bursting with beautiful fabrics showing lots of objects that can be found and named. The quilt calls to mind the traditional game of observation. “I spy with my little eye… ” This quilt will be perfect for teaching English words to young children. “Where is a cat? There it is! Find an owl. Yes, you found it! Can you find the kangaroos? There they are on each of the corners!”

Sewn into the back of the quilt is a little pocket containing two bean bags for use in more creative games. I can’t wait to use this colorful language learning tool. The JOEE kids at the orphanages are going to LOVE it!

A Lesson at St. Joseph’s

2019.07.03

Prior to the start of the summer of 2019, Ruth, Hiroko and I were able to schedule a lesson at St. Joseph’s Orphanage which would be open to preschool, kindergarten and lower grade elementary school children.  Armed with puppets, picture books, snacks, and prayer we waited expectantly for the kids to arrive. The staff there would like the program to be open to whomever would like to attend, so we weren’t sure how many children or what ages would participate.

Statue of Saint Joseph at the Children’s Home

At first, two elementary-age girls arrived.  It was lovely to meet them, but they left giggling at our silly dancing and opening song.  The clock was ticking our lesson minutes away, but finally, slightly damp and smelling of soap bubbles, a nice group of kindergarten-age children and their caretakers arrived!  Little feet carried them into the room and we began the “ball” lesson.

Ruth was the main teacher and led the lesson with her gentle grace and sweet voice.  Lots of giggles, happy faces, and great participation followed. Hiroko and I sat with warm children in our laps, little hands holding our own.  One boy in particular kept coming to my lap and seemed to really enjoy being with me. I prayed for him and all of his friends quietly in my heart as we all practiced “ball” and Ruth passed out animal shaped cookies.  “Please!” “Thank you!” Little voices filled the air with English. We acted out a story using puppets and sound effects, and I was able to reprise my role as “the snake” for “Can I Play Too?”

At the end of the lesson, we thanked the orphanage director for her hospitality.  We are praying that she will be happy with our program and invite us back.

— Raku

Lights! Camera! Action!

Making a JOEE Promotional Video

Artwork by
Satoshi Kitamura
Used with permission

On June 13th in Higashi Kurume, we were able to hold a sample JOEE lesson and shoot footage for a promotional video for JOEE.  Ruth Ingulsrud recruited children from Christian Academy in Japan, Honeybee English School, and local kindergartens to participate in the video.  Also, myself, Raku Dishner, was recruited as a fellow teacher for the JOEE organization, and (as I later discovered), a volunteer assistant for the video.


Shin Theodore Lewis, a recent graduate of Christian Academy in Japan, and talented cinematographer, volunteered his talent and camera to be director and also to film the lesson.

It was a sweltering start-of-summer day, but the children were excited and eager to dance, laugh and play with Ruth and Mehh-gumi the Lamb puppet!  Moms were also there and had a great time assisting and participating with their children. Each family signed a waiver allowing us to use their faces in the video.

“Pass the ball! Pass the ball!”

The theme of the lesson was “ball.”  Ruth read the story “A Ball for Daisy” by Chris Raschka, followed by Mo Willems’ well-loved “Elephant and Piggy” book, “Can I Play Too?”  I was surprised and nervous as Ruth called me up to manage a large snake puppet and participate in the story! She also passed around various sized balls and played the game “pass the ball”.  The children counted and passed and tossed and caught the ball while saying “Throw!” and “Catch!” 

 Many picture books were available at the lesson’s end for the children to read with a helpful grown-up.  They were all rather sad when the lesson ended. Ruth, the kind moms, Hiroko, Shin and I were sweaty, but satisfied with our hard work and the resulting happy, happy kids!

Having video footage of a JOEE lesson will help us to raise funds, introduce our program to prospective orphanages, as well as recruit volunteers and teachers.  We are grateful to all who participated in the sample lesson and to Shin Theodore Lewis for his grace and talent to help us with this project.

Blessings everyone!

Raku