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Reina Mori

2011/07/16 15:24 Featured Volunteers

Reina Mori (left) at the DHL Shine On! Rugby World Cup Charity Dinner & Auction

Here is an interview with our latest volunteer, Reina Mori, a student who is working with us during her summer vacation as an intern.



Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 19-year-old, second-year college student at University of Florida with a business major. I am half Japanese and half Caucasian American. I was born in Osaka but moved to the US when I was 11. My hobbies include playing with makeup, beading (making jewelry) and trying new things (food, traveling, etc.)

What brought you to Tokyo?

Visiting my family and friends during my summer vacation from college. I have a younger brother and a Japanese half-sister. My brother (16) and I live in Florida, and he lives with my mom (American). My half-sister, who’s now a first-grader, lives in Yokohama with our father and her mom.

How did you get involved with the Tyler Foundation and how long has it been?

My dad and step-mother have known Kim for a few years through work. My step-mother noticed that the Tyler Foundation had an ad in the Tokyo Times for a volunteer and my dad had Kim’s contact information so I was able to reach her through him. I just began last month in mid June, so I’ve been involved for a little over a month.

What do you find most rewarding about working with the Tyler Foundation?

To feel that all of the work I do for this organization will be appreciated by many people. Going through tough times can be very challenging and require a lot of perseverance. From time to time, it may not even seem like it’s worth the effort to keep trying especially when you’re alone. But the Tyler Foundation is there to support not only the children but also the people around them. Knowing that what I do here will later put a smile on someone’s face means so much to me.

What activities have you participated in and why?

I have been helping out in the office since June as an intern. I also volunteered for the DHL Shine On! Rugby World Cup Charity Dinner & Auction held earlier this month. As a college student getting ready for the real world, I wanted to take any opportunity to learn and be better prepared for the future. Simply helping out in the office taught me a lot of things relating to Japanese business that I would have never been able to learn in the US. I volunteered at the Dinner & Auction event with this same attitude, but now I can truly say that I made the right choice in being part of the Tyler Foundation because not only was it an educational experience, but I was also be able to devote my time to a cause that is meaningful.

Tell us one particular time that captures the essence of your Tyler Foundation experience.

Although I have not been able to meet any of the children whom this organization helps, I have seen several photos of children who were able to finally smile again because of the Tyler Foundation. These kids in the Tohoku area are in the midst of rough times, facing a different set of problems and stress from kids with cancer. When I first joined the Tyler Foundation I did not realize how involved this organization is with the kids in Tohoku. I was so moved by this, of course I should have known better—this organization is here to help kids in distress. Kids are meant to be innocent, care-free, and vivacious; yet they are so sensitive to the world around them that a disaster like the one that struck this March had a devastating effect on them. Although I wasn’t the one who got them to smile again, I feel lucky to be able to spread the word that the kids up in the Tohoku area are beginning to be able to go back to being kids again, after enduring so much trauma and stress for so long.

My best friend is a childhood cancer survivor of a rare kind. The more time I spend with her, the more I change for the better. Based on the few people I know who are cancer survivors, they are the most beautiful people I have ever met. It always came to me as a surprise when I learned that they are survivors. They’re just like everyone else, except constantly a few dashes happier. My best friend taught me so many things, but most importantly the importance of appreciating everyday a bit more. Whether we are on a high or a low, my best friend and I always tell each other that there’s a reason for everything.

What message would you give to others who want to support the Tyler Foundation?

This is such a great organization, which I would love to be part of again as soon as I get the chance! It is such a shame that I must return to the US soon. The Tyler Foundation is a determined organization that is trying to grow but there are just not enough people to do all of the work necessary to reach their ambitious goals. Any support for the Tyler Foundation will surely be greatly appreciated.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Lately, I have learned the joy of just trying new things. As I moved away from home to start my life as a college student, I have been blessed with great friends who taught me so much. I used to be stuck in a small bubble fearing anything new and unknown. But now I am so hungry for everything—I just want to try, try, and try! After all, the only way to really know if something suits you or not is through experience. I want to absorb like a sponge; I want to expose myself to as many things as possible because I think people develop as they explore the unknown. My hobbies today have not changed since I was a little girl: beading and makeup. I like to make jewelry for myself and others. And since I was three or four, I have always been in love with cosmetics. I know if you meet me it doesn’t really show (I rarely wear makeup outside of the house). This is why people are so surprised when they see my gigantic cosmetic collection. Since I have been busy lately, I have been investing my time in something that would last a bit longer than makeup—nail art. The time I spend shaping and painting my nails actually serves as a stress-reliever.

Would you say you are an optimist or a pessimist? Would your friends agree?

I try to be level-headed at all times, so I can be both; I adjust myself depending on the situation. When I hit a low point, I suddenly become optimistic to pull myself back up; but when something joyful comes around, it takes me a while for it to sink in—I have a tendency to be overly cautious and skeptical. However, even if I feel pessimistic, I will never be openly so when it involves somebody else. I will just silently be on the lookout in case something goes wrong. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always have the saying,「苦あれば楽あり、楽あれば苦あり」(“there is no pleasure without pain”) close to my heart.

My friends will probably agree or say that I am one or the other depending on which part of me they have seen. My friends who see me be so optimistic when they are feeling crummy will ask me why I can be so happy in a situation like this or that I should look at the reality. But I evolved into who I am now based on my past experiences and I have realized that the strongest alliance you could ever have is yourself. Nobody can stop you unless you let him/her. On the other hand, when I reach a goal, my family and friends will see me have a difficult time accepting that something great just happened. I’m working on that part of me so that I can more open-heartedly enjoy the little things in life.



We thank Reina for her hard work and contributions this summer, and hope to have the opportunity to work with her again soon!