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Japanese relief coordinated by college students

Peer’s plea inspired class to act
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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ROCKLIN – Several local students have put together a Japan relief fundraiser in less than a week. A student’s speech inspired Jennifer Kattman’s Sociology 2 class at Sierra College to host a barbecue and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Rocklin campus’ quad. All donations from the food will go toward the Japanese Red Cross Society. On March 16 Japanese exchange student Rio Nishihara, who is returning to Japan in a few months, stood up in her class and asked her peers for help. “Actually it had been a week at the time … so I just wanted to let everyone know what happened in Japan and what the condition is right now,” Nishihara said Monday. “I know my classmates are really kind and lovely, so I know they would help me in some way.” Nishihara was brought to tears when addressing her classmates. Nishihara said her home is in the western part of the country, so her family wasn’t harmed, but some of her friends were affected. “When I saw the picture on the news it was so unbelievable to see the tsunami coming over,” she said. “It was like a movie. I have some friends in Tokyo and around the area, and they were affected.” Nishihara said she wishes she could be there now, even though she knows she couldn’t physically do anything to help those who are suffering. After Nishihara’s plea, her classmates raised and donated $110 to the Japanese Red Cross Society in 15 minutes. They decided to throw the fundraiser and have been visiting 111 classes on the campus to ask for donations and support for the event. “We decided to have a barbecue to raise even more money, because we have so many students who are passionate about it,” said Camille Swain, who is in her second year at Sierra. “I just think it’s humanitarianism at its finest. We need to take care of people who are less fortunate than us. I was thinking what would happen if it was my family … and how I would want that help for me if it ever happened to me.” Swain said hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and a variety of baked goods would be available on Wednesday. A laptop will also be available in the J-7 building that day for people who want to make online donations, Swain said. On Monday students gathered to make posters and signs for the event. Murtaza Moiz, who is in his third year at Sierra, said one of the driving forces behind the event was that Japan wasn’t receiving as much support as areas that experienced disasters in the past. “I think the concern came up last Wednesday (when we were) facing the emotion of an international student who cares about the country so much, and then researching and seeing we are not donating and putting in as much of an effort as we did for (Hurricane) Katrina and (the earthquake in) Haiti,” Moiz said. Virginia Raass, who is in her third year at Sierra, said this particular sociology class changed her life, and she said it would be great if her class’ efforts saved even one life in Japan. “When we all come together we can make a big impact,” Raass said. “There are problems in the world and when somebody stands up like Rio did … it’s just the power of the classroom getting together. Sarah Peters, who is in her third year at the college, said the students couldn’t have done the project without Kattman, who has helped organize and support them. Alex Reyes, who is also in his third year at the school, said he agrees that not enough support has been given to the ailing country. “I think there needs to be awareness, because it seems like what happened in Japan, it just kind of got swept under the rug,” Reyes said. “Especially in Tokyo, being a metropolis such as that, it’s really a need.” Nishihara said she is grateful to be able to thank some of the Americans that are helping in person, and she hopes the word will spread about the effort. Reyes said he thinks it’s great that his class is working together for the effort. “I love it,” Reyes said. “Just the sheer numbers of what we have. It’s not that much, but anything that helps.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------- Donating to Japan Sierra Helps Japan Barbecue and Bake Sale When: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday Where: The quad at the Sierra College Rocklin Campus, 5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin Information: Visit sierrahelpsjapan.wetpaint.com Salvation Army · Visit gosalarmy.org to donate · Text the words “Japan” or “Quake” to 80888 to make a $10 donation · To donate through the partnership of the Salvation Army and Fox 40 visit gosalarmy.org or fox40.com s · Send check to The Salvation Army World Service Office, International Relief Fund, PO Box 630728, Baltimore, MD 21263-0728 American Red Cross · Visit redcrosscrc.org to donate · Text redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation · Donate in your local Red Cross office