もう1つの達成感、バーベキュー大会 Another Feeling of Accomplishment: Barbecue Party

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「ふう、無事に終わった〜。」5月中旬の話ですが、ペアレンツ・ヘルピング・ペアレンツ、日本人サポート・グループ(PHP-J)のバーベキュー大会が終わった瞬間の気持ちです。毎年40人くらいの規模だったのが、今年は便利な場所に会場を変えたこともあって、参加希望の家族が続々と増え、最終的には25家族、ボランティアさんも入れると総勢120名近くの大イベントに相成りました。

一瞬心配にはなりましたが、なんのなんの、私たちには強力な助っ人ネットワークがついています。純粋なボランティアさんのみならず、会員さん、つまり障碍をもつ子供の親後さん達も積極的に手伝ってくれます。皆さん、できることをできる範囲で、できない時は次の機会というように関わってくれます。会場の予約、食材の手配、買い出しといった準備から、会場準備、案内、受付、会計、配膳、バーベキュー、子供の世話、レクレーション、片付け等の当日の仕事にいたるまで、見事なチームワークでこなされていきました。

今回は、新しい試みがいくつかありました。まず、寄付集め担当のスーパーママさんチームができたことです。町中を奔走してくれて、商品や商品券などたくさんの寄付が集まりました。おかげで経費がぐんと減り、参加家族に払ってもらう参加費を減らすことができたのです。ほんとに頭が下がります。

そして、新たに頼もしい助っ人グループが登場、日本語補習校から来てくれた中学生や親御さんたちです。主に障碍をもつ子供達の面倒を見てもらったのですが、嬉しいことに、後で、いい経験をさせてもらったと言ってくださいました。「人に助けてもらう立場の子供たちだって、人に与えられるものを持っている。」私が日頃から思っていること、それを再認識した日でもありました。

それから、今回初めてPHPのロゴ入りTシャツを注文しました。これも会員さんやボランティアさんの協力で実現したのです。子供たちは黄色、当日何らかの仕事をする人は青色、グループ代表のKさんと私は紫という具合です。障碍をもつお子さんもその兄弟姉妹も、お手伝いを買って出てくれた場合は、青いTシャツを着てもらいます。皆がグループの一員として、生き生きと自分の役割をこなしている姿が感動的でもありました。Tシャツがグループの絆を強めるのに一役買ったのは間違いないようです。

とっても忙しかったけど、子供達のはじけるような笑顔の写真を見ると、「あ〜、みんな楽しんでくれたんだ〜」と報われるようです。今は夏休みでPHP-Jの活動も小休止、これもまたいいものですね。秋からまた頑張るぞ〜!(^o^)/
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Another Feeling of Accomplishment: Barbecue Party

“Whew, it’s over without any happening!” I let out a sigh of relief when the party ended. It was a barbecue party for Japanese Support Group at Parents Helping Parents (PHP-J) in middle of May. Before, the turnout had usually been about 40 people. This year, however, the number of participating families had gone up everyday until it finally counted 25 families. This was mainly because we had changed the party site to a more convenient location. Including volunteers, the total turnout would be neary 120 people, making the party a huge event.

Although I got a bit nervous for a moment, there was no need to worry. We have a strong network of helpers. Not only genuine volunteers, but also many of the members are very willing to help. Members are the parents of children with disabilities. Everybody tries to do what they can do as much as they can. If they can’t, there is another opportunity to help. All the jobs were done with splendid team work; ranging from making reservations for the site, getting lunch ingredients ready and shopping, to the day’s work, including setting up, ushering, sign-ins, accounting, barbecuing, arranging food, looking after children, recreation activities, clean-up and so on.

This year we tried a few new things. First, a team of super moms was formed. They ran all over the town to ask for donations, ending up with a whole lot of merchandise and gift cards donated, drastically cutting down the cost for the party. Thanks to this, we were able to reduce the fee we were to collect from participating families. I cannot thank them enough!!

Second, a new group of promising volunteers joined us this time from a Japanese middle school (Nihon-go Hoshu-ko). We mainly asked the students and their parents to look after children with disabilities. Later, to my delight, they kindly said it was a good experience to spend some time with the kids. Even children who are dependent on others’ support can give something to others. This is what I always have in mind and it was the day that reassured me that I was right.

Lastly, we had ordered T-shirts with the PHP logo for the first time. Again, this was made possible by the help of members and volunteers. Yellow for kids, blue for those who had some kind of job at the party, and purple for K-san and me, the facilitators of the group. Even those with disabilities or their siblings wore blue T-shirts as long as they were willing to help. It was very moving to see them actively involved as part of the group. I’m pretty much sure that the T-shirts played an important role to strengthen the bond of the group.

I was so busy around the time, but all the efforts have been well rewarded with the pictures of the kids with big smiles. “Wow, they are really having fun!” Right now, PHP-J activities are taking short breaks during summer, which is kind of refeshing to me. We will be in full swing again in fall!! (^o^)/
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by danceofdragon | 2010-06-25 13:43