George Fox shows support to Japan earthquake victims

George Fox is organizing a campaign to show support to victims of the Japan earthquake.

Community invited to join school in "Notes of Encouragement" letter-writing campaign

What can be done to encourage the people of Japan? George Fox University’s Trauma Response Institute is offering a simple but powerful way to do so.

In wake of the March 11 Magnitude 9.0 earthquake, hundreds of aftershocks and subsequent tsunamis that have devastated the country, the institute is organizing a “Notes of Encouragement” campaign to reach out to the Japanese people. Many of the university’s staff and students plan to participate, and the general community is welcome to join the effort, according to TRI Director Anna Berardi.

Letters are being delivered to two distinct groups: students who attend college (undergraduate and graduate school, age 25 and younger) at Tokyo City University and children living in shelters in the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster zones. Dr. Rie Yabuki-DiCorcia, an associate professor of psychology at TCU, has agreed to distribute adult-focused letters to her students and deliver child-focused letters to shelters.

“The goal of the notes of cheer is to express our care for them and their country during this very difficult time,” Berardi said. “I wish to thank those who have already submitted notes of encouragement for the students and children of Japan. Anyone can contribute to the collection. Some of the contributions we’ve received include letters and artwork from local school children.”

Berardi said notes should be simple and short since English skills for each person will be different. Expressions of care, admiration for their resilience, courage, and community support of each other is preferable rather than focusing on how bad their situation is. Consideration should also be made for differing religious beliefs.

To participate,

  • Buy or make a card or a bookmark. Draw a picture or make a scrapbook-type card. “Art is a great way to bridge the language barrier,” Berardi said. Try to keep the size no larger than a business envelope. Square or rectangular is fine.
  • Sign it with your first name only or your full name, from George Fox University, Portland or Newberg, Ore. (or the name of your school if you are doing this as a school project). Do not include your address or e-mail, as the recipient may feel pressure to respond.
  • Place in an unsealed envelope. Address the outside of the envelope according to the population the note is intended for: To Our University Friends (for Dr. Yabuki-DiCorcia’s college students), or To Our Young Japanese Friends (for children living in shelters). Both Dr. Yabuki-DiCorcia and Berardi will be checking to make sure all notes are culturally OK, as is common practice in disaster response.
  • Mail or drop off your letters by April 30 to Berardi, Graduate Department of Counseling, 12753 S.W. 68th Ave., Portland, OR 97223.

For more information, contact Berardi at 503-554-6104.