About us

Place to Grow is a 100% volunteer-led nonprofit that strives to connect and inspire a rising generation of leaders in disaster-stricken Tohoku communities.


To inspire the next generation of Tohoku

   “We believe People Inspire People, and while you cannot empower another human, you can inspire them to choose self empowerment.” 

– Angela Marie Ortiz, NGO Founder

Founded in 2011 in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear disasters, Place To Grow has developed from a first responders emergency aid organization, to providing long term community support.




Inclusion In Support

Shared experiences bring people together, “ working together for  a common goal connects individuals and fosters community beyond the small problems of everyday life.

People Inspire People

Peer To Peer role models inspire us to pursue a life of self development and empowerment. Role models inspire us to choose hobbies, academic pursuits, travel experiences, career paths and more.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Fitness is a basic foundation for a healthy life, we believe children who learn the simple fundamentals of fitness will become more confident and empowered adults. 

Place To Grow programs create life-changing opportunities for children – fostering communication and confidence through fitness & language exchange.

Place To Grow Volunteers visit small communities in Miyagi prefecture on a monthly basis, to hold workshops and community planning events with local families; children and the city leaders.

The annual Santa Soul Train project spans 3 days in December and brings together the wider community – fostering solidarity, community spirit, and connections.  1500 children in Tohoku and Tokyo are currently part of this pen-pal style project.


The leadership Team of Place To Grow consists of three work streams:

Volunteers join according to personal interests and skills. Self development courses from public speaking, networking to NGO management are held throughout the year. 



Kai Goldstein – Program Manager

Alexandra Fisker Van Venn – Marketing

Go Yabuno – Marketing

Claire Kim – Programs

Naomi Ledell – Marketing

Miray Waki – Administration

Ryusuke Suehiro – Administration


Programs workstream: the development and activation of serves our beneficiary & support communities. 

Marketing workstream: exists to raise funds for the programs, and drives awareness of our work.

Administration workstream: acts towards welcoming and training volunteers, who lead and participate in Place To Grow projects.

Internship program with the American School In Japan engages high school students who are passionate about service learning, self development and Japan social impact.  For more information please email administration@placetogrow-ngo.org 

Volunteer hours by “Role”

  •   Leaders *approximately 6-8 hours per month
  •   Interns *approximately 3-5 hours per month






Place To Grow beneficiaries are two – fold.

  • The families and towns still rebuilding receive value from our ongoing volunteer leadership program.
  • The volunteers, interns receive leadership & public speaking training, hands on community engagement experience and education.
  • The families and businesses still rebuilding emotionally and physically after the loss of loved ones receive strength from connection made via PTG network. 
  • The schools & corporations we connect to Tohoku  recieve value in the experiences of volunteering, and  community connection

Organization Name: 
特定非営利活動法人Place to Grow
Registration Number法人番号5011005006522

 Tokyo Office:
Takahara Building 4A, 1-6-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0001
Telephone: 090-6851-5834

Minamisanriku Office:  
22 Tomarihama, Utatsu, Minamisanriku-cho, Motoyoshi-gun, Miyagi, 988-0444
Telephone: 090-6851-5834

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