The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

In June 2015, after the very successful 24th annual Walkathon, tired members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Chubu chapter got together to begin planning the silver-anniversary event. We had 12 months to plan, and wanted to get a head start on what was to be the most important event in our chapter’s history.

It was decided that we would raise ¥25 million, and would work towards an even loftier goal of putting in place a vision for the Chubu chapter’s long-term CSR objectives. It was then that we created the Chubu Children’s Fund (CCF) to focus on relationship-based activities that empower, educate, and inspire youths residing in the children’s homes of the Chubu area.

A key problem that we wanted to tackle is that children living in these homes rarely see a future for themselves that includes higher education. Nationwide, only about 23 percent of kids move on to any kind of tertiary education (vocational, junior college, university) after high school. The percentage is lower in the Chubu area.

The reasons are varied and connected. The financial burden is certainly a large factor—the kids usually are required to leave a home at the age of 18 and are expected to start supporting themselves right away. In addition, and maybe more remarkably, they have had no mentors or role models on their journey, and they go out on their own without a sense of direction or purpose.

We felt that establishing an organization that would create opportunities for these children to flourish—and for our members to be involved—would be the perfect way to address this.

ACCJ members and members of the Japanese community at large could be a part of these activities in various roles, such as counselors, mentors, donors, and facilitators.

We believe these exciting activities and opportunities will encourage our members to get more involved in both the CCF and the ACCJ in general. This also helps the chapter reach its current goals of increasing member engagement and value.

We are now looking for a suitable non-profit organization with which to partner as we develop these activities, and we welcome all who may be interested in getting involved in the CCF.

For more information on how to get involved or contribute to our efforts, please contact the ACCJ–Chubu office at 052-229-1525.

 

Through the CCF, the ACCJ–Chubu will work with local children’s homes to create a system of long-lasting relationship-based activities. Our initiative will consist of the following:

Chris Zarodkiewicz is vice-chair, ACCJ–Chubu Community Service Committee and president of Cezars International K.K.