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Japanese student helping homeland
Trine University Director of International Studies Emily Boerman, left, and Japanese student Mai Yokozuka of Tochigi, Japan, have organized a fundraiser for American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.
Japanese student raising funds for earthquake-rocked homeland
ANGOLA, Ind. — Trine University junior Mai Yokozuka of Tochigi, Japan, is raising funds for American Red Cross relief efforts in her home country following last week’s devastating earthquake.
“I talked with my family this morning for the first time since the earthquake,” Yokozuka said Tuesday. “They e-mailed me following the quake, but it was the first time I heard their voice. My mom went to the supermarket, but there was no food. My sister went to the gas station, but there was no gasoline.”
Yokozuka is a student at Hakough University in Japan and is studying English at Trine for one year through the schools’ exchange program. She will return to Hakough at the end of the school year for one more year of classes. When she graduates, she plans to teach middle school English in Saitama prefecture in Japan.
Her family’s home is in Tochigi prefecture, which is a relatively short distance south of Sendai prefecture, the epicenter of Friday’s quake. While her hometown shook violently, very little was damaged.
“Pictures from other parts of the country were just devastating,” Yokozuka said.
She said gasoline, food and water remain in short supply, though. Yokozuka added that people in her hometown are also worried about radiation leakage from nuclear reactor explosions in nearby Fukashima.
After hearing of all the damage, she attempted to send a care package to her family, but the U.S. Post Office said it was undeliverable. When Mai heard the news, she decided she wanted to do something to help not just her family, but as many people as possible.
A postal worker recommended that she work through the Red Cross. Yokozuka wasted no time and immediately contacted Emily Boerman, Trine’s director of international services.
“I was very impressed with Mai’s initiative to come to me and say, ‘I want to do this,’” Boerman said. “Our goal is to raise $2,000 with the hope of each student donating $1.”
All money raised will be sent to the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan. To donate money, contact Boerman at (260) 665-4833 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Donation boxes also are set up in Trine’s Whitney Commons in the University Center and Centennial Station in Forman Hall.