Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cranes for Healing Wishes

Last month our students, parents, teachers and I all wondered what could be done to show support for the tsunami and earthquake victims in Japan. With California's Ed Code, fundraising on high school campuses can be tricky. The parents decided to host a bake sale anyway across the street, and they also raised relief dollars by selling "Pray for Japan" bracelets. But what could the students initiate? From, I heard about a crane-folding project where the students could mail origami cranes to That organization would receive a two-dollar per crane donation from the Jeff Bezos Family Foundation (Jeff is the founder of Our goal: 1,000 cranes to send healing wishes for Japan, to be folded in one day, April 18th.

Our gifted Japanese teacher, Ms. Kamikihara, began to share the artful folding technique with all of her students, and by Spring Break our students were folding hundreds of cranes to bring on the day of the event. Last Monday, over one hundred energetic teenagers stood at ten tables near our student center during a rainy lunchtime, keeping their fingers and the little origami squares dry. I knew we would surpass 1,000 when I saw seven or eight bags full of cranes already made during Spring Break. The Japanese foreign language students wore red and white yarn on their wrists to designate their status as crane-folding mentors. The thirty-five-minute soggy lunch break passed quickly, and the origami artists were having so much fun that we had to remind them that the bell had rung and it was time to stop. Now came the hard part. How many cranes did we have? Mrs. Tajima, our stalwart parent volunteer, had a plan to place sets of 100 cranes in paper bags, then into the copy paper boxes we had gathered from the other departments.

As I ate a little bowl of soup to warm up, the parent volunteers counted the students' lunchtime effort. I finished the soup and had to get back to my class assignment. I left the parents to finish counting cranes into paper bags at the folding tables. An hour or so later, Mrs. Tajima sent word that not only had we wildly surpassed our goal of 1,000 cranes in one day; our students had made 6,000! She made the little 6,000 crane sticker above, so we could post it around the school to say thank you to all who participated. As it turns out, we just barely missed the deadline to sponsor the two-dollar-per-crane donation from the Bezos Family Foundation, but the foundation decided to double their overall donation from this promotion (thanks in part to groups like ours that came so close to the deadline).

In the process of mailing cranes to and Architecture for Humanity, Mrs. Tajima also discovered the lofty "1,000,000 Crane Project" going on at Princeton (coincidentally, Mr. Bezos' alma mater). They were sent some of our cranes as well. We sent the remaining cranes to Osh Kosh B'Gosh, for their program to donate clothing to thousands of children in Japan who have been affected by the devastation. With the deadline for mailing cranes to the original organization having passed while we were out on Spring Break, the activity turned out to be less fundraising and more raising awareness. Either way, our students felt empowered to finally be able to make a difference for Japan.

Cool Community Service Idea:
Folding Cranes to Help Japan
(These sites also have instructions)

Architecture of Humanity project

Clothing Donations for Crane Donations

Princetons Students' Healing Wishes

1 comment:

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