Here’s the situation: you’re an expat worker bee with a bit of free time. You’d like to do something to help your fellow man in Tokyo, but want to flex your sports/arts/outdoorsy muscles and be a part of the change. Where do you go? What do you do? How do you have fun and help out those who need it?
HandsOn Tokyo, that’s how. A non-profit that’s been around since 2006, HandsOn Tokyo brings foreign residents and local folks together to work on a variety of charitable and social issues. There’s a wide variety of events and activities available: bowling, basketball, onigiri making, art projects, and English classes.
The day I volunteered, we played soccer with the Futaba Soccer Association, a group of local children with Down’s Syndrome.
A Sunday filled with fun field drills, we buddied up with one or two kids and practiced throwing, kicking, and hand-eye coordination before taking to the field for games. Everyone played, no one kept score, and we all had fun (and an excellent workout!).
HandsOn Tokyo makes volunteering stress-free. Their English website offers a menu of activities you can chose from and sign up online. You’re then emailed a confirmation and a reminder before your volunteer day. Volunteers are met at the station by the HandsOn Staff and assigned their duties for the day.
It’s fun, easy, and a great way to give back to Tokyo in a direct and meaningful way.
Here are just a few ongoing volunteer events held by HOT:
Basketball in Shibuya: Have a blast shooting hoops with special needs kids on a Sunday afternoon.
Rice Ball Mondays: Support single moms (and your onigiri habit) with the chefs at the Peninsula Hotel in Chiyoda-ku.
Friday Gardening Group: Get your hands dirty and help grow greens at the Saiseikai Infants’ Home in Minato-ku.
Blind tennis, English classes, summer camps– the list goes on. HandsOn Tokyo lets you have fun and make a difference in your adopted homeland.