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Making a ‘Special Needs’ Difference Halfway Around the World

Reis is a retired chief warrant officer 3, who works for AMCOM (Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command) to conduct corrosion review, training

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and remediation in Japan.

Although, it seems like a busy job, Scott Reis, David Busby and Thomas Rogers are known to take a few hours during their off-time to visit a Japanese special needs school in Okinawa.

Japan Special Needs 2
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“It is one of the few special needs schools in the Okinawa that doesn’t get government funding. They need help because they don’t get that funding.” Reis said.

When the three men aren’t working on corrosion issues they help the school with a variety of different tasks. “We helped them decorate for Christmas with trees and lights, and we gave them lots of toys. At Easter, we helped with an Easter egg hunt. My daughter Tyler (who was nine at the time) and two of her friends put candy in over 750 eggs. We also helped celebrate Valentine’s Day and Halloween.”

Despite the absence of government funding, the school manages to care for the 42 special needs men and women who live at the school and 50 who visit the school’s support center every day. The school keeps running through donations, selling the vegetables and flowers grown in their garden, managing their own bakery and selling pottery created by its special needs students.

The Americans help by purchasing pottery and other gifts in order to increase the school’s budget. They don’t mind spending their own personal funds on items from the school, they understand the bigger picture and love to see the smiles. The co-workers also enjoy supporting the school because they can see with each visit (about every three months) how their contributions are helping.

Japan Special Needs 1
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Bubsy said “One trip I bought 80 pieces of pottery”

Takao Chinen a school official says “The purpose of this institution is a disabled person’s independence. The idea is to help put a smile on their face, and give them a place to learn and have fun. We help develop the character of each student, and help lead them to a happy life.”

Thomas Rogers was on an assignment with Scott in Okinawa to help with corrosion issues when he was introduced to the school and he said it was a life changing experience. “It’s fun to say ‘Hi!’ to the kids and we try to do the best we can with the language barrier. We do a lot of bowing.”

Anyone who wants to help can contact Reis at [email protected]

 

By Daniel Mayper – Guest Blogger

 

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