Organized last spring, the Tsukuba International School Support Committee ('Sanjokai') held its first general meeting on October 31 at the YMCA/Tsukuba Christian Center building. The main purpose of the 'Sanjokai' is to increase community support for the school, particularly among our Japanese hosts. All except one of the members of the organizing committee are leaders in the Japanese business community. These include the chairperson, Michio Sano, president of Sano Steel, the two vice chairpersons, Susumu Aoki, president of Joyful Athletic Club, and Kazuhiko Nakayama, a professor emeritus of Tsukuba University and director of the Educational Research Institute for the 21st Century, and the two treasurers, Hiromori Kimura, president of Kimura Hardware, and Takehisa Yatabe, president of Ton Q Restaurants (also serving as TIS parent representative). Also serving on the committee are Shinya Honda, director of the Ibaraki YMCA, Ichiyo Onuma of Onuma Glass, Kazuo Kaneko, a member of the Tsukuba City Council, and Tim Boyle, chairperson of the TIS Advisory Board.
The proceedings were covered by local reporters, and write-ups appeared in several local newspapers, including a very nice article in the Ibaraki section of the Yomiuri Shinbun. This coverage will certainly help TIS to receive more recognition, and make it easier to raise the needed donations to cover the expenses tuition canŐt cover. As TIS is a non-profit organization that depends heavily on volunteer efforts from the community, securing adequate funding has always been a struggle. Likewise, since TIS tuition is based on a sliding fee scale (which depends on family income), the relatively low incomes of many researchers means that the tuition they pay is often much lower than what is really needed to meet even TISŐs shoestring budget. This shortfall, then, must be raised through individual and corporate donations, and this will be one of the main goals of the School Support Committee.
As the proceedings took place on Halloween, the School Support Committee and the dozen or more people from the general community who attended the meeting invited the children of TIS and their mostly younger siblings to a Halloween Party immediately following the meeting. This provided a good opportunity for the School Support Committee people to interact with TIS parents and children, and similar activities are planned for the future.
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