In the late 1980s, a group of young people in New York created an organization called New York Cares that offered new opportunities for residents to volunteer in their community. The founders did not have a lot of money to give away, but the one thing they had to offer was their time. They organized group projects on evenings and weekends so that people could volunteer around their work schedules. Inviting others to a meaningful, hands-on project without long-term commitment, they made it easy for other volunteers to participate. After volunteering, the participants felt they had made some sort of a difference in their community. As word of this organization spread to friends across the United States, the founders of New York Cares started similar efforts in Washington D. C. and in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, the HandsOn Network has merged with the Points Of Light Foundation to become the largest volunteer network in the United States and includes more than 208 HandsOn Action Centers in 37 countries, including Japan.
Hands On Tokyo was founded in December 2006 with a working Board of Directors comprising both Japanese and foreign nationals who are committed to making volunteer activities more accessible and committed to accelerating the growth of volunteerism in the Tokyo area. Hands On Tokyo is the Tokyo affiliate of Hands On Network-Points of Light Foundation. Much like other HandsOn affiliates, Hands On Tokyo collaborates with many local organizations to encourage senior citizens, revitalize playgrounds, deliver food to the hungry, support people with visual impairment, inspire children in children’s homes, and the list goes on. One quality that is unique to Hands On Tokyo is our passion to becoming the catalyst that will help spread volunteerism in Japan. Overcoming language barriers, we developed a bilingual volunteer clearinghouse so that we can work together for a common purpose. While each volunteer brings different philosophies or perceptions on volunteerism, one common belief we all have is that everybody has something to contribute to society.