“Unfortunately, I was unable to see the Smile Ambassador when he visited for the first time last June. I heard that the children and teachers all had a really great time. Guy-san returned for a second visit in September and I then saw what everyone was so excited about.
When I told the kids that Guy-san will visit for a third time in February they were all very happy. They waited anxiously for him to come and everyone’s eyes lit up when he arrived. I wish they had the same reaction to their regular classes! I am amazed by the positive impact that Guy-san has on the kids and the teachers. It lasts long after his visits – they will probably never forget him. I believe that their laughter helps to relieve stress caused by the traumatic experience of the tsunami. The Smile Ambassador spreads seeds of happiness that can grow to be strong and healthy. This helps the students and faculty through these difficult times which in turn helps our families and community. I am very impressed with the Smile Ambassador Program and hope to see Guy-san again soon.”
The frigid weather couldn’t stop the Smile Ambassador’s 3rd Tohoku tour of 2012! Last week we visited 11 schools and interacted with over 600 kids from Rikuzentakada in southern Iwate to Kamaiishi in the north. Big thanks to our special Hula Hooping guest performer Kristen Mcquillin! Kristen’s hoop shows and workshops really warmed everyone up. She and her crew from Spin Matsuri (www.spinmatsuri.com) also made and donated over 100 Hula Hoops. It’s too cold to play outside so Hula Hoops were the perfect gift to keep the elementary school students active and physically fit!
I was recently featured in a local Tohoku newspaper called the Fukko Kamaishi Shinbun.
Below is the Tyler Foundation’s English translation of the article from January 25, 2012.
Children smile with magic and games Tyler Foundation’s Shine On! Smile Ambassador visits nusry school in Kamaishi City.
Gaetano Totaro – Guy, the Tyler Foundation’s Shine On! Smile Ambassador, provides the opportunity for children to forget their worries through magic and games. On January 17, he visited 82 children and the principal of a nursery school in Kamaishi in Koshi-cho.
Having visited several times already, he is quite a popular guest now. On this visit, he performed a magic show and played games with the children.
One of the activites was a painting exercise in which the children rearranged basic shapes such as a circle, square, into their own image. In addition to being fun, this activity exercises children’s creativity. One of the children named _____(5 years old) drew a picture of himself taking shower by developing his idea from the picture of triangle and circle. He was delighted with the results and said, “I’m happy I could draw well. I also had fun playing with the parachute.”
Through the Tyler Foundation’s Shine On! Smile Ambassador Program, large groups of children are being supported in the Tohoku region. Guy travels through various parts of the Tohoku region on a regular basis visiting places such as shelters and offers performance which helps in psychological recovery.
Guy told us “Smile is the best medicine. I want children to always remember smiling at anytime even in the difficulty of moving forward.”
The foundation is accepting requests from schools and kindergartens who would like to receive a visit.