Getting involved.

We are very fortunate again this week as more people have asked how they can get involved. Please see the link HERE

We are receiving help from Takako who is the mother of two grown sons and offered to help translate our curriculum from English to Japanese. We seek anyone who has CSR hours that they can use at the leisure of their desk. We have many Digital Citizenship lessons we need to translate as we go into June.

We also received interest in mentoring. We appreciate the offers and look forward to working with everyone.

1,000 new articles of clothing donated

We never know what email we will receive. This week is was a from a business man from Malaysia who, for unfortunate reasons, was not able to move forward with a business venture in the clothing business. He has now donated all 1,000 articles of clothing for children and adults to us. The articles will go to Matsubaen who has agreed to sort, take what they need and then ship to St.Francis and St.Josephs and we will keep them moving until all homes have received what they need.

One persons bad news sometimes becomes very fortunate news for others. We are very grateful.


Everyone needs something to believe..

read the caption on the wall as the support crew, drivers and team leaders meet to discuss the logistics of the KIWL 500km bike ride that starts two weeks from today.

The dedication of the team is awe inspiring. The fact that most of the 500km ride has been tested beforehand to help everyone with their safety, logistics and making sure everyone has a great time.


Digital Media

The ubiquity of smartphones and other internet-connected devices makes it possible for kids to interact with the digital world from a very young age. Ninety-eight percent of kids under 8 have access to a device at home, and 50 percent of teenagers say they feel addicted to their phones. Families have seemingly endless media and entertainment choices, but high-quality, age-appropriate content is still hard to find. Educators face new challenges with powerful learning tools (and powerful distractions) in the classroom. And technology companies collect all kinds of information from us (and from our kids), sometimes without clarifying how it will be used.

Every day, the world of media and tech gets more complex. But there's good news: Together with parents like you, and alongside educators, policymakers, and industry partners, we're building a movement to improve digital well-being for kids, schools, and communities everywhere.

Our approach to digital well-being:

  • Quality content: Families taking charge of their digital choices.

  • Tech equity: Technology that works to support families and society.

  • Digital citizenship: Students thriving as learners, leaders, and citizens in the digital age.

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Mentors always welcome

Mentoring helps when you do not know what you want to do in life. Lets start with how you want your life to end up and work backwards. We may ever know what we want but we should know what we don't want. When I asked a youth how they wanted their life to end up he replied, "when I was born, I was crying surrounded by smiles, I want my life to end up smiling surrounded by my loved ones crying"


“Volunteer’s voice” by Summer intern Yohann

Yohann Andjembe

May 23, 2019


St. Francis Home Visit


On Friday, May 17th, 2019 afternoon, I had the pleasure to visit St. Francis home, which is a Catholic home for children managed by nuns. I was pleased to be introduced to the staff working at the home and the children living there as well. Before my visit, all the information I had regarding the homes were just numerical data based on the home profiles. To physically visit one of the houses and children brought me a new lifelike perspective. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by one the nuns and was taken to the dining area where another YouMeWe volunteer named Gerhard originally from the United States was waiting for me. He went ahead and introduced me to four young boys. It was a delight to meet all four of them. Also, I was surprised to witness that their English level was not that bad. We managed to get to know one another and have a decent conversation. 

Then, the boys, Gerhard and I had a delicious Japanese dinner. For instance, I had the opportunity to taste a dish called Natto, which is a local Japanese dish well appreciated here by Japanese people. Natto is made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. It certainly tasted different from what I am used to, but it was not bad at all. Throughout dinner, I've learned a little bit about the boy's background and the reasons that led them to live at St. Francis. Finally, right after our nice dinner, Gerhard, the kids and I spent the rest of the evening playing a series of card games until it was time to call it a day.

Thank you very much Robert Williams and KIWL

The winner of Four Fox Sake

The winner of Four Fox Sake

We had a hugely successful PUB QUIZ last night with over 100 people and lots of prizes and fun.

A big shout out to Robert Williams who tirelessly organizes these events by creating so much fun and good times for everyone.

Today we have two events going on at St.Francis and St.Joseph’s. Online writing for the younger kids and Coding for the older kids respectively.

Tomorrow we head up to Fukushima Aiikuen to discuss with the kids about the KIWL 2019 Bike Ride Finale at their home and prepare a few surprises for the riders.


Thanking ANSYS for their contribution to the KIWL 2019 Bike Ride


Almost 50 Years of Innovation

We are the largest engineering simulation company in the world, serving more than 45,000 customers. Our steady growth and financial strength reflect our commitment to innovation and R&D. We reinvest almost 20% percent of our revenues each year into research to continually refine and improve our software. That's why more leading organizations trust ANSYS with their most difficult product design challenges.

We develop, market and support engineering simulation software used to predict how products will behave and how manufacturing processes will operate in real-world environments. We offer the most comprehensive suite of simulation solvers in the world so that our customers can confidently predict their products' success. ANSYS simulation software, coupled with our team of applications experts and global support network, is the key to:

  • Lower Development Costs - we help customers get to an accurate answer faster, so they can do more in less time while using fewer resources than ever before

  • Reduce Time to Market - our software drastically shortens development time and prototype iterations

  • Optimize Product Performance - we enable our customers to consistently perfect product reliability, performance and safety

Thank you Robert Walters for your contribution to the KIWL 2019 Bike Ride this June

Global Charity Day The Robert Walters Group holds a simultaneous Charity Day event on the same day at all of its offices worldwide. Activities include the sale of handmade sweets and participation in games designed by our staff. The Robert Walters Group donates all of the money collected on the day to support a number of organizations.

Volunteer Leave Robert Walters Japan has introduced a scheme to provide paid leave to staff who wish to participate in volunteer activities. We are devoted to creating an environment that fosters volunteer activities by our staff by providing subsidies for a portion of the travel and participation and other fees associated with their volunteer activities.

Celebration of Life; remembering Sachiko "Jackie", Lisa's mother

We focus very much on the futures of the children we work with. How they can have the support and encouragement to pursue their dreams, education and lives. But we rarely have been approached by those who have started out in similar ways and gone on to live very productive lives.

Lisa approached us with the passing of her mother and has been kind enough to share so many stories and memories for our Obaa-chan in the cloud at the same time raising funds for the DAA summer camp.

Jackie was adopted in the 1930’s in Japan and had the love and support at a young age which made all the difference in the world.

May 19th is the day of celebrating Jackie’s life and a reminder that our lives are not necessarily about us but what we leave behind by way of laughter, teaching and memories.

In this regard, Jackie has left much behind for Lisa and her friends and family.

Obaa-chan in the cloud

In Japan, we have more people over the age of 65 per capita in the world.

We also have less children under 15 per capita in the world.

Our team at YouMeWe (NPO) are launching a new project, years in the making called "Obaa-chan in the cloud" (Grandmother in the cloud).

Our endeavor is to have the children living in the homes, who do not have grandparents, interview the elderly and capture their life’s stories digitally. We will archive these audio/video files on YouTube and the Library of Congress for future generations to access.


Following a succesful ideathon in June 2018 to brainstorm ways to create meaningful interaction and building digital literacy skills, YouMeWe is partnering with StoryCorps to produce interview videos. Children from different orphanages in Japan will learn interview skills and ask senior citizens to tell their life stories. Once done, the videos will be uploaded into YouMeWe's independent Youtube accounts.  

We are looking for a Tokyo-based volunteer to help YouMeWe interpret English to Japanese or Japanese to English for a full day of video filming. YouMeWe's beneficiaries speak in Japanese, however we are anticipating other volunteers in charge of video filming to need some help speaking in Japanese. Hence we'd like someone to come to the shooting set and interpret.

YouMeWe is doing a full-on production project, however we will have different volunteers engage in different stages of production, in order to have volunteers contribute in the area of their expertise. If you are interested in using your English-Japanese language skills to tell stories of some of the most vulnerable citizens in Japan, you are more than welcome to contribute to our project.

About StoryCorps (

Our mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

About YouMeWe (

We are a Tokyo-based non-profit organization with more than 10 years of experience building supporting relationships with local children's home (orphanages). Our NPO's primary mission is to help children growing up in institutionalized homes to become fully capable and financially independent young adults as they reach the age of 18 and prepare to leave the home - whether it is off to university, technical school, or to a new job.  

We have 7 interns for the summer to work with us and they will be partly focused on the structure of the Obaa-chan in the cloud project.

“Obaa-chans” Skyping with children in Tohoku and Tokyo!

Having consulted with Ma-chan, our 83 year old volunteer, she feels that the elderly are too shy to be asked to mentor straight away.

  • She suggested SmartPhone classes where the children teach the elderly how to use smartphones.

  • IchigoJam were they learn to code together on small 4,500 yen devices

  • Ultimately, we have decided to start with STORY CORPs where the children can interview the elderly about their story (lives) and upload the content to YOUTUBE.


A for Art and for the A in STEAM Education

We have purchased software and tablets and stylus for the kids to excel at their passion which in Japan is easily animation. I never understood the passion around anime until a friend wrote a book about how Japanese Pop culture has invaded the world.

These are by Yukie who was already in High School when we started our program and went on to work and due to lack of finances went straight to studying how to be a care worker in the homes. She has passed successfully. While it is touching that many of the kids want to be care workers themselves, the encouragement of their talents and skills and opening up their networks to include the donors and volunteers empowers the children.

As parents and guardians, we forget that children are worthy of the investment beyond food, clothing and shelter as we are all struggling to make sure they are fed, clothed and safe. It is when they are safe they can start to access that portion of the brain for creativity, expression and showing their talents.

Join us in August from the 11th until the 20th for our tenth Designing Artists Academy (DAA) summer camp. In many ways the first meeting of Miho and Amy, our board members, was the birth of what YouMeWe is today.

We met in 2008 about a concept of bringing artists to volunteer their time to teach the children in the homes about the arts…..this has touched the lives of so many; artists, children and volunteers alike.


  • “My favourite DAA workshop was the short film-making workshop. We got to work with kids from other children's homes, which was really cool too. It was also my first time interacting with foreign people, and it has encouraged me to participate in many other events involving foreigners.” – 6th grade boy, Port Kanegaya

  • “We are very happy to hear that DAA is coming back as the full camp format. We understand that DAA was not possible the last few years due to lack of funding, and we came to realise after not having DAA just how much of an amazing camp it is, and a rare opportunity in Japan. I believe the concept of the Designing Artists Academy camp goes beyond the imagination of most Japanese people, and our children absolutely enjoyed it. DAA was one of the great memories of their summer holiday.” – Ishigo-san, St. Joseph’s children’s home

  • "The children were able to enjoy various workshops in a relaxing atmosphere, and it was a good experience for us staff members, because through those workshops, we were able to observe the unique character of each of our children." - Kiyose Kodomono Ie staff member, Ms. Moriya

  • 日本では、現在約3万人の子供達が児童養護施設に住み、数少ない職員達によって支えられながら暮らしています。彼らの中には、過去の虐待や貧困等からくる複雑な精神的問題を背負い、進学に必要なお金に不足したり、塾などへ通うお金が無く、大学に進学できなかったり職に就けない子供も少なくありません。NPOユーミーウィーは、アート・セラピーを通してこれらの子供達を支えるための夏季アートキャンプを10年前に始め、毎年40人の参加者を迎えてきました。是非、募金サイトReadyforを通して、日本の将来となる子供達を支えていただけますでしょうか。宜しくお願いします。




Thanks to funds raised by COLT in the 2018 Bike ride in Europe, we have paid for the venue of our summer Designing Artists Academy (DAA) Art Camp. We are adding A to STEM education and STEAMing ahead.

Every April we do assessments of the homes and are in the middle of compiling the data. We endeavor to collect as much BIG data from all of the 600 homes this year with the summer interns who have arrived and will be with us this summer.

We look into the population by age, the gender breakdown and how many are still supported by the homes after 18 years old..

We ask who is interested in the career assessment tests and mentoring program. If they have part time jobs, aspirations to go on to university and if they have sports or arts programs.

So far, almost none of the homes have Arts programs.

We are using NightZooKeeper in many ways including the drawing element of it. This is digital but a way for the kids to be creative while writing, participating in contests and connecting through the YouMeWe Schools we have set up in Philippines, Ghana and other countries as the children in our homes are multi cultural and this allows them to meet kids online from their other cultures, leave comments.

The NightZooKeeper curriculum we are completing as the new school year starts for other countries but summer quickly approaches us in Japan is around









While we encourage the children to have Digital PenPals from the other countries, we will continue to teach the curriculum kicking off in June and then each quarter have a Conference Call with all of our Digital Citizens and facilitate conversations with the children about the above subjects which transcend borders, age, race and gender.

We have new volunteers and the interest in NightZooKeeper ebbs and flows depending on the interaction our children have with each other and the volunteers who help us. We want to keep a constant flow of writing and drawing going. We want this to be a way for the kids to interact with each other THROUGHOUT the year and now just when they meet once a year at DAA which they have been doing for a decade now with us.

Please consider helping us send kids living in children's homes in TOKYO to our 10th annual summer arts program. This is a unique, memorable and impactful experience for these kids. They love the camp, the home staff love the camp, and they make memories that last a lifetime. We want to rally our DAA community and reach our funding goal.



Child Safety Program @ YouMeWe NPO


We decided to create a Child Safety Policy because it’s important for us to know what to do when we come across any situation of Child Abuse, and to take action. So the policy that we created basically asks for details on the case of abuse including information about when it happened, the location and the child's information. All these steps are really important to act upon the incident in a timely manner to make sure the child has a voice.

Background from Global Giving:

Introduction The first Child Safeguarding Standards were launched over 12 years ago by a coalition of relief and development charities that later became known as Keeping Children Safe. Since then there has been a growing recognition that, as well as risks to children from staff and associates, inappropriately designed programmes and poor operational management can also create the possibility of risks to children. Keeping Children Safe represents a commitment by those working in this sector to ensure that their organisations “do no harm” and that they meet the responsibilities set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Drawing on the knowledge and experience of experts, Keeping Children Safe developed the Keeping Children Safe Standards, which was supported by a comprehensive Toolkit for implementing the Standards. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, then independent expert for the UN study on violence against children, acknowledged the importance of the Toolkit, stating that: “It offers an excellent opportunity not only for the improvement of the quality and professionalism of those working with children, but most importantly, it will help to achieve a greater impact for children.” Since it was first published, hundreds of organisations and thousands of professionals worldwide have used the Toolkit. The increasing demand for the Toolkit reflects the growing recognition by organisations, which work with, impact on, or come into contact with children, that they have a responsibility to keep them safe. What is child safeguarding? Child safeguarding is the responsibility that organisations have to make sure their staff, operations, and programmes do no harm to children, that is that they do not expose children to the risk of harm and abuse, and that any concerns the organisation has about children’s safety within the communities in which they work, are reported to the appropriate authorities. “Do no harm” is a principle that has been used in the humanitarian sector but can equally be applied to the development field. It refers to organisations’ responsibility to minimise the harm they may be doing inadvertently as a result of their organisational activities.

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Dear Volunteer,

Thank you for volunteering at YouMeWe NPO today. As we are a group focusing on youth living in group homes, it is important to express and read the following:

The 30,000 children living in Japanese families do so for a variety of reasons. Some are abuse, financial constraints, parental imprisonment or other situations.

For this:

  • We never ask children any questions about their families.

  • Even if they ask, we do not give them contact information.

  • We will never ask for their surnames

  • Some parents do not know where their children live, so we do not take pictures of their faces.

  • We do not offer something to the home's superiors or children without confirmation: gifts, food, promises of another visit, or lessons of any kind

  • We must be aware of our clothes and take a professional attitude. We need to be aware of physical contact. The house demands that the small children not be excessively hugged.

  • In the safe zone, each homes shakes their hands and touches their shoulders. Do not touch the face, head or other areas.

  • It is important that volunteers visiting the home stay healthy to avoid the spread of diseases and pathogens to children in the home. If you can not volunteer because of illness, please notify us directly or home if visiting regularly.

  • If you have a small child at a home asking you to pick up and hug a lot, don't pick the child up. Instead, point the child to the hand holding their hand. This is because the child may be suffering from attachment problems.

  • Should you witness or hear about any abuse in the home or from a child, please use the attached document to report this immediately.

Link to report: HERE

Thank you for your participation. If you have any questions about the above or anything else, please feel free to contact us.

Thank you