One Million Cranes Project Gets Students Involved in Relief Effort

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PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — To help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, children from 1,000 U.S. schools or groups will make 1,000 origami cranes and contribute $1 for each crane they make.

The One Million Cranes was created by Stacey Jacobs of Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula.

“After watching and reading the news from Japan for four days and nights, I decided on March 14 that I no longer wanted to be just a passive observer,” she wrote in a message on her website. “My three children were watching and waiting, too, and I was struggling to help them understand the unbelievable tragedy we were seeing and hearing about. We all understood one thing very clearly, however: the people of Japan needed help.

“I recognized that money was the help that would be desperately needed, but I wanted that money to carry the hope and goodwill everyone was feeling for the people of Japan. Remembering the legend of 1,000 cranes, the vision became very clear. One thousand schools or groups will make one thousand cranes, and each crane will represent a dollar donated to help the people of Japan. This will mean 1 million goodwill wishes, and $1 million going to the relief effort!

“I shared my idea with Karen Levy, my daughter’s fourth-grade teacher, and Ahnalisa Miller and Kristy Sebok, two of my most trusted mom friends. All three of them said yes!”

Miller added, “As a mother, designer and artist, the vision of children and adults participating in a potentially monumental gesture of compassion through the power of installation art was the main motivating factor to get involved and see this through. Besides, I love working with amazing moms who stir things up!

“By luck and choice, we live in a town whose very identity is promoted by a sense of community and volunteerism. It is the extra effort when shared by so many that sets an example for a new generation of young people. In fact, our middle school has a mandatory program that children must complete several hours of community service of their choice …

“It is very satisfying to know that the hours spent setting this project in motion will have a positive effect on whoever chooses to take it on.”

Schools, businesses and other groups across the country are invited to join the effort. To get involved, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://onemillioncranes.org.

Organizers stress that adults are the facilitators, but the children are the teachers and leaders of this movement. Students start by learning to fold an origami crane. These children will then teach other children, and those children will teach others.

The facilitator will provide the origami paper and assist the children with making the cranes when help is needed. Children will donate $1 for every crane they make. The finished cranes will be gathered by the facilitator and strung together to be placed in schools or other public buildings.

Money will be kept in a central, safe location by the facilitator, who will then donate all money raised (with the goal of $1,000) to the Red Cross, given in the name of “One Million Cranes for Japan from [name of school or group].”

Nine cents go toward administration costs and the other 91 cents go to Japan.

Origami cranes are a symbol of hope and goodwill. It is also believed that the greatest wish of anyone who makes 1,000 cranes (senbazuru) will come true, and cranes are often made for those recovering from illness or injury.

Because of the loss of infrastructure in the hardest hit areas of Japan, it would not make sense to send the origami cranes there at this time. The cranes will, instead, be strung together to decorate a classroom or school, or joined with cranes from other schools or groups to adorn public buildings. Organizers say that a garland of 10,000 goodwill cranes would be very appropriate at a local fire station or hospital.

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