By Bethany Kirk
American Red Cross, Volunteer
Kadena Air Base, Japan. Summer vacation may still be in full swing, but children continue to learn valuable reading skills here on Okinawa. Puppy Tales, an American Red Cross Animal Reading Program, is supporting young readers on Kadena Air Base. Participants of this program practice their reading skills in a positive, judgment-free environment. This program is offered to SOFA-status members in grades 1-5.
“The dogs provide that emotional connection with people, so often times, even just petting them can provide comfort,” says Alicia Erler, a program volunteer.
Erler has been volunteering with her pup, Ace, since April 2018. She is a teacher by trade and loves how this program brings together her passion for teaching and animals. “I knew this would be a great way to get involved with the community and spend time with my beloved labradors.” Before volunteering with Puppy Tales, Ace completed both a health evaluation and temperament exam at the Kadena Veterinary Clinic.
The Puppy Tales program supports between 6-8 young readers every week and continues to grow in popularity on base. “The families absolutely love seeing their children become comfortable in this setting and read aloud to the dogs,” says Erler. While the puppy’s offer a friendly companion, Erler exercises her teaching skills to help readers sound out difficult words and encourages them to show Ace book illustrations.
The Puppy Tales program is a partnership of the American Red Cross and Kadena Library.
To become a volunteer or enroll your child, please contact the American Red Cross on Kadena Air Base at 643-1294 or the Kadena Library at 634-1502.
By Hannah Wilkes
American Red Cross Volunteer
Kadena Air Base, Japan. On October 20th, the American Red Cross at Kadena Station participated in a reading marathon with the Read across the Globe literacy initiative. The goal of the marathon was to read to over 300,000 children in 24 hours, with the intent to surpass the previously held Guinness Book of World Records entry of 238,000 children.
On Kadena Air Base alone, over 1,000 children heard the story, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. Featuring a former basketball star, it tells the story of how he became inspired to take up farming, striving to educate and feed his community with fresh food. Volunteers read to students in their classrooms throughout the day at Amelia Earhart Intermediate School, Bob Hope Primary School, Kadena Elementary School, Kadena Middle School, and Ryukyu Middle School.
The dedicated team of 45 volunteers were crucial to the event’s success, with 39 readers and 6 photographers donating their time and effort. The American Red Cross at Kadena Station was proud to partner with a number of organizations for this event, including Points of Light and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy, with the shared goal of encouraging children to read and raising literacy awareness.
With at least 32 million American adults defined as illiterate, the need for increased awareness is at a critical point. This number represents 14% of the national population. Globally, the number of illiterate adults is closer to 1 billion. By encouraging people to engage in literacy-centered community activities and inspiring students with the written word, the initiative is doing its part to combat this crisis.
Further information can be found at www.pointsoflight.org or by contacting the American Red Cross on Kadena Air Base at 634-1294.
Mark your calendars! Come by the Kadena Officer's Club on Saturday, September 12 for some real steals on authentic hand-knotted carpets and brighten your room with a soft rug! Fiza Carpets will be auctioning off authentic woven rugs beginning at 3:00 pm.
We're happy to support the public in shopping for a cause - a portion of all proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross.
This rug auction is not to be missed!
On August 15, 2015, the American Red Cross at Kadena Station partnered with numerous agencies and organizations to host its first ever All Hazards Preparation event outside of the Kadena Exchange and Commissary. Volunteers and representatives from participating agencies were available from 11:00am-2:00pm, working together to present information to educate the public on typhoon safety and preparation, as well as other hazards particular to Okinawa.In addition to the American Red Cross, on hand were Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa Emergency Management, 18th OSS Weather Flight, 18th Emergency Management, the Commander Navy Regional Japan Fire and Emergency Services for White Beach, the 18th CES Fire and Emergency Services, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The Kadena Station focused its efforts on sharing disaster preparation information from the publications Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed, as well as on passing out reusable disaster bags, each with a list of items to include in a disaster kit.
Nalan Miles, the Station Manager for the American Red Cross on Kadena, said that the event was a great success and that she has plans to continue working with these and similar organizations in the future. She hopes to make All Hazards Preparation a quarterly event.
After careful planning and consideration, the American Red Cross at Kadena Station is proud to announce the newest addition to their current programs and services: a year-round youth program for teens, ages 14-17. The youth program is expected to be well-received by parents and teens alike, and is an excellent option for youth wanting to develop leadership skills, contribute to their community, and gain valuable experience working with a team. Meetings will be held monthly.
The deadline to apply is fast approaching; please contact our office with inquiries or to register. After signing up, your teen will receive an email with the online application which must be received no later than August 21. An orientation is tentatively scheduled for the following week, August 26/27 from 6:00-7:00pm.
By Hannah Wilkes
American Red Cross Volunteer
Okinawa has officially entered typhoon season. For people who have been on the island awhile already, this may have stopped being exciting a long time ago. For those who are newer, there may be a lot of unanswered questions and anxiety. Storms are most likely to form between June and November - according to Kadena’s webpage, up to 26 may form every season. This year has been quiet so far, but it’s still early and there are reports the tropics are about to get stormier.
Okinawa is officially under TCCOR-4 for the duration of the typhoon season. This means residents should be prepared for winds of 50 knots or greater within 72 hours AT ALL TIMES. Being ready means having a season’s supply of fresh water, canned and other non-perishable foods, along with flashlights, batteries, and candles. At a minimum, plan to have enough to cover the household for 3 days. It’s also important to remember things like diapers, wipes, medications, toilet paper: any necessities!
One important aspect of keeping everyone safe is taking the outdoor clean-up seriously. Bring all items possible inside. Trash and recycle service stops during TCCOR-2. Please remember to bring in your trash from the curb! If you have a large table or trampoline, turn it over and either tie it down or weigh it down securely with sandbags. FREE sandbags are available ahead of storms at Kadena’s Eagle Hardware. These can be used to weigh down items or to help prevent flooding, depending on your location. The houses here are built to withstand just about any disaster, so one the greatest risks of damage and injury, short of flooding, may come from flying debris and lawn furniture.
Other useful tips include filling up the bathtub. I’ve never had to make use of the water in it, but should water supply be cut off, it can be used to flush the toilet and otherwise maintain sanitary conditions. Taping the windows is said NOT to be useful. Truly, the best advice is to have supplies ready ahead of the rush, have the house and yard in order, to keep electronics charged, and be ready to spend a couple days inside. The Japanese locals often carry on their normal activities through the storm, but on base everyone must wait for “TCCOR All Clear.”
Useful sites to follow include Kadena’s shogunweather.com for up-to-date TCCOR information.
On Facebook, these are some good sources of information:
-American Red Cross- Kadena Station
-Kadena Force Support Squadron
For further information, including downloadable guides and checklists, see our Disaster Services and Disaster Resources pages.
On May 9th, the American Red Cross hosted its annual Derby Day event at Marek Park where more than 1000 people came out to enjoy the festivities.
Various entertainment was available throughout the day, including performances by the Eagle Cheerleading Squad and AEIS Firebird Taiko Drummers, as well as a static car show and a demonstration by the Military Working Dogs. The Boy Scouts of America hosted their own pinewood derby races for children aged 6-10, a fun hands-on activity for those children too young to participate in the soapbox derby races. In addition, there were 39 vendors on hand, selling a wide variety of food and goods.
The crowd was silent for the presentation of colors and National Anthem, sung by the Kadena Harmony choir, followed by pre-race comments made by Colonel Lovette and Kadena Station Manager Nalan Miles.
The derby car races and main event took place on Douglas Boulevard, which acted as a race track for all 31 derby car entries. In the adult division, cars raced two by two, eliminating nine entrants the first round and an additional four the second. In the youth division, cars went head to head for two rounds; shortly after, all winners were presented with trophies based on race times.
Derby race winners are as follows:
1. Team Strong
3. Black and Decker (18 EMS)
1. Team Strong
In an incredible show of the community's support, more than 100 people volunteered their time to ensure the day was a success, arriving to Marek Park as early as 0630. These volunteers worked to provide assistance with a wide variety of necessary tasks, including month's long coordination efforts, road barrier set up and break down, booth set up and break down, derby car safety checks, manning registration tables, taking photographs, and timing derby car races.
Despite this year's Derby Day being a resiliency event rather than a fundraiser as in past years, a total of $1136 was collected in donations for the American Red Cross. The Kadena Station would like to thank all of those who contributed so generously.
In addition, the Kadena Station would like to express their gratitude to all the volunteers, participants, vendors, and spectators who took part in Derby Day 2015, and hopes that it was memorable for all involved.
Derby Day is nearly upon us and we hope you're as excited as we are - there's going to be something for everyone, including great food and music, a bouncy house for the kids, a variety of vendors and live entertainment, and of course - derby car races down Douglas Boulevard. Come out for this free family event, May 9th from 10:00 - 3:00 at Marek Park on Kadena. Cheer on your favorite derby teams, watch the AEIS Firebird Drummers in action, stop by and visit with the Boy Scouts of America, and much, much more. We hope to see you there!
There's still time to get your racer applications in to be a part of this year's event! Registration packets are due May 4th and are available in our office. It is completely FREE to apply to race.
American Red Cross at Kadena Hosts Annual Volunteer Recognition
On April 1st, 2015, the American Red Cross –Kadena Station hosted its annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, a luncheon in honor of those who have volunteered their time throughout the year. More than 30 people were in attendance, including 18th Medical Group Commander Colonel Frank W. Allara Jr., and Kelli Thayer, the Special Events Chairman who organized the event and was instrumental in its success. This year's event theme was "Everyday Heroes", signifying the extraordinary contributions that ordinary people make to the community through volunteer efforts. Since the beginning of the current year, 64 individual volunteers have donated more than 1,500 hours to the Kadena Station Red Cross.
Nalan Miles, the Station Manager, presented certificates and awards for volunteer service alongside Major Tritz of the 18th Medical Group. Assisting were staff members Mia Bostic and Hailey Shabazz. In opening and closing statements, Ms. Miles expressed her gratitude and profusely thanked all who have helped to meet the Red Cross mission. Col. Allara also spoke to the outstanding support provided to the 18th Medical Clinic in alliance with American Red Cross volunteers, further thanking everyone who has chosen to donate their time.
Among those honored were Jeffery Wright, a long-time Medical Clinic volunteer, Maribel Paulino, the Kadena Station Health and Safety Chairman, and Health and Safety Instructor trainer, Chuck Miller. Wright and Paulino each received awards in recognition of their 5 years of American Red Cross service; Miller received a plaque in appreciation of service.In addition, Kadena Station Chairmen and members of the Station Advisory Council were awarded for outstanding leadership. All volunteers in attendance received certificates and gifts in appreciation of their service.