Volunteers are a large part of the success of the Japan in the Schools (JIS) program. Once you submit a volunteer application form, the JIS coordinator will contact you regarding your first training which can be visiting schools as an observer once or twice with experienced volunteers or attending JIS training workshops. We usually provide a few workshops throughout the year that will allow you to practice, which may help you in feeling more confident to do a presentation in the future.Once you are on our volunteer list, you will be notified each time we receive a request from a school. At that point you can decide whether you want to take that opportunity or not. If you decide to take the job, you will then need to respond to the JIS coordinator by email.
The JIS coordinator will ask one of the assigned volunteers to pick up a JIS suitcase which we use for presentations. The JIS coordinator will also ask you what role you would like to play in that presentation. (English or Japanese speaking person for Japan in the Suitcase or JLCV program leader)
For helping Special Events
Would you like to contribute to JIS by offering your time or any talents may posses? If so we are looking for help in the following areas: Cultural skills involving Japanese Instruments for a children’s musical storytelling program; Knowledge of Ikebana or Sado for children having a high interest in a Japanese Traditional experience; Help promoting “Japan in The Schools” by working in one of our booths for local community events like Sakura Matsuri or Aki Matsuri; Graphic skills for designing attractive JIS flyers. Even Computer skills are needed. It would be a wonderful help in making our operation run as smooth as possible!
If you have some special skills that you can contribute to JIS or JAS, it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact the JIS coordinator for more information.
New Volunteers FAQ
Thank you for your interest in becoming a JIS volunteer! Here are some frequently asked questions about the JIS volunteers.
Q: What do I do as a volunteer?
Japan in a suitcase program (Elementary school program)
Teams of English and Japanese speaking volunteers visit elementary schools to introduce Japan and Japanese culture to first through third grade students by comparing cultural similarities and differences between Japanese and American students. Each team will be provided with a curriculum outline and a suitcase containing posters, books and everyday articles to help students visualize and understand contemporary life in Japan. Volunteers will help students learn how to say some Japanese greetings, how to count in Japanese, and how to write a few simple Kanji through hands-on activities.
Japanese Language and Culture Visits (High school program)
Volunteers with near-native to native fluency in oral and written Japanese will visit high schools in the Puget Sound area to provide Japanese language students with opportunities to practice speaking Japanese. This is a “mini-immersion” experience in which groups of volunteers provide students with opportunities to use recently acquired Japanese language skills to converse with fluent Japanese speakers.
Q: How is the school visit coordinated and what is the volunteers’ responsibilities?
Once you become a JIS volunteer, Japan America Society’s JIS coordinator will send you information with regard to the presentation date and school name, as well as addresses approximately three weeks prior to the requested dates. If you are the volunteer person who visits the school, you need to let JIS Coordinator know that you would like to be the presenter, and confirm the pick up location of the suitcase with the JAS office. On receiving the suitcase, volunteers have to check the items in the suitcase and notify JAS if any of the suitcase items are damaged or missing, or if handouts, erasers and /or chopsticks are running out. Volunteers will meet at the school at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time so that they have enough time to set up the suitcase materials. Volunteers need to register as visitors at the school’s main office. After the presentation, presenter will fill out the “Presenter Evaluation Sheet” and submit it to JAS office. Please check the items in the suitcase (an inventory list is in the suitcase) after the presentation. If any of them are damaged or missing, notify JAS immediately. The suitcase should be returned to the JAS office after the presentation.
Q: How do I become a volunteer?
If you would like to join the JIS program as a volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Application Form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org We will ask the new volunteer to visit schools as an observer once or twice with experienced volunteers. We also have a JIS training workshop periodically and we encourage you to participate in the workshop.
Click here for a volunteer application form.