For the spring semester, I decided to continue my CIP with the Niconico Tomato (Nico Toma) volunteer group at Kyoto University Hospital. Nico Toma is responsible for organizing activities for the children receiving long-term treatment at the hospital. In addition to arranging activities, they also change the monthly decorations in the children’s ward and create holiday treat bags for the children.
Because of the language barrier, it was sometimes hard to understand the conversations that the other volunteers were having, but overall I felt that I had been included as a member of the group. The other KCJS students and I usually sit around the table with the rest of the Nico Toma volunteers and work together on various projects. No matter what task they are focused on, Nico Toma stays meticulously organized, and group cohesiveness is always important. When making holiday cards, for example, each volunteer is assigned a different step in the process, and it is through our combined efforts that the quality of every card is preserved. Teamwork was also important when we prepared for the bazaar event, as all of the merchandise needed to be sorted, priced, wrapped, before being arranged neatly into sale displays. The KCJS students were assigned to the towels and clothing section, and we were responsible for creating an organized display that would appeal to the shoppers. We successfully completed this task, and I felt very happy when the other volunteers complimented our display. Volunteering Nico Toma has been a great experience, and it was very impressive to see how much time and effort the volunteers spend towards helping the children have a more pleasant stay at the hospital.