Helping survival victims. Focusing on children, our future.

Volunteer Activities

Place to Grow activities are divided into categories, including on-the-ground, volunteer support, development, workshops, research and more.  Activities are designed to allow Volunteers from all walks of life to join us. Activities require 2-3 hours per month to successfully achieve. 

Place to Grow is excited to be announcing our Xmas in Tohoku event for 2019.
Help us make Santa Soul Train a reality in 2019!

Video thanks to Risa Masayama and Peter Lin.

Previous Santa Soul Train

Last year we delivered 1,200 stockings to 13 locations in 5 cities.

This year we’re asking for 1,500 stockings and cards for community events in both Fukushima and Miyagi.

The Santa Soul Train holiday reunion is one in a series of community workshops and events held by Place To Grow for children and families recovering from earthquakes and disasters. Every year during the holiday season we bring this message of hope, fun and friendship to post-disaster neighborhoods, and participate in an international festival. The community members both young and old of MinamiSanriku have become Inspired Volunteers  themselves. From 2018 they are taking the lead to keep this festival alive and develop it further into their community fabric and as a source of inspiration to the neighboring towns.

Sponsor a stocking today!

Support a child in post-disaster communities.
1 x STOCKING = ¥3,000


2017 Video

2016 Video

2015 Video


Join us to spend the holiday working hand-in-hand with local volunteers to bring their community together.  

This is how we break the cycle of depression and loneliness that too often takes hold after major disasters.  We continue to be that “someone in your corner” that reminds you not to give up – the cheerleaders that say “we are rooting for you!” We have been, and intend to continue to be there for the survivors.  

Last years Santa Soul Train event brought:

500+ Local Community Survivors

50+ Outside Volunteers

50+ Local Volunteers

1,500+ Children Receiving a Card and a Gift

3,000,000+ Yen Raised in Funding and Equivalent Donations

300+ Hours of Volunteer Time

100+ Hours Working Alongside Survivors

Many More Cards and Gifts delivered to 8 locations up and down the Tohoku Coast.

+ Awareness for Monthly Place to Grow Workshops

The People making the difference

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TV Celebrity Stuart-O will bring his dynamite energy-dance act, and have the children, the parents, and the entire room up and dancing in his trademark Soul Train collaborative performance.

TV celebrity Hayami Yu is donating her time to MC the event and also to perform on stage.

Singer Charlie Okamura brings his charm and brilliant presence to life on stage to delight with a variety of traditional songs.

Team Misawa from the US Navy/Air Force base is sending troops to volunteer, create cards, and send cookies and goodie bags made by the children and mothers of their community.

For 7 years, our dear partners at the international schools have made it real.

American School in Japan

Ohana International School  

Nagoya International School

Nishimachi International School

K International School

Fukuoka International School

Thank you to our past Partners:

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Yosuke Watanabe, a father of two and local businessman says:
“When volunteers are here, we feel the energy to carry on.”

Yukari Hatakeyama mother of 2, and grandmother of 3, also resident of Minamisanrikucho said:
“We don’t need you to make our homes or rebuild our cities.  But we don’t want to feel forgotten.  Just stand by our sides.”


Corporate / School


Silver Sponsor – ¥100,000
Gold Sponsor – ¥200,000
Platinum Sponsor – ¥500,000




Secret Santa – ¥3,000
Ambassador – ¥30,000


Give children in Tohoku a big smile for Christmas this year.

Recent workshops

April Easter Workshop

April Easter Workshop

This Easter Sunday SOGO Team (Kevin, Elma, and Ruri) from Tokyo joined PlaceTo Grow workshops in Tohoku and led fitness games and activities to help continue to bring communities together. This year our goal is to connect the communities through wellness and fitness. This was the second SOGO trip to Tohoku & we focused on … Continue reading “April Easter Workshop”
8 Years On, Remembering 3.11

8 Years On, Remembering 3.11

Today marks 8 years since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Tohoku. In this time of remembrance, we’re also reflecting on the growth of affected communities and celebrating the hope with which they look into the future. …
Our Wonderful World – Club Asobiba

Our Wonderful World – Club Asobiba

July 21st – 22nd, 2018 After arriving at Minamisanriku on Saturday, we went to Shizugawa High School to meet with the former principal who will lead the “Minamisanriku Junior Academy”. There, we discussed the details and goals of the program, how PTG will be involved, and presented this to the first prospective participant, his mother, … Continue reading “Our Wonderful World – Club Asobiba”

Local Interview #3

1.   Why is a community important to you as a mother? Having a community allows mothers to meet and learn from various generations, to receive support from the community and grow with their children. Through interactions with people from different backgrounds, children can learn the basics manners, including greetings. 2.   What value do you think … Continue reading “Local Interview #3”
Father’s Day Workshop @ Asobiba

Father’s Day Workshop @ Asobiba

When volunteers Aki, Kayleigh and Lucia arrived at Asobiba at 1pm on Saturday we were greeted by children on the playground and two donkeys that they take care of.While the children were having late lunch we prepared for the workshop beside them. They were so curious as they watched us dissolving a large amount of salt into bottled water, which was to be used later in the day. …
Asobiba Easter Workshop

Asobiba Easter Workshop

6 years ago the community of Oya was hit by the tsunami of 3.11.  Hundreds of families came together at the Teragai community center where OGA for Aid worked to coordinate food and water supplies. Temporary housing was built near by and hundreds moved into the courtyard of the elementary school – the facilities stand … Continue reading “Asobiba Easter Workshop”
Art Workshop #2 with Ohana International School

Art Workshop #2 with Ohana International School

This November 6th, we hit the road bright and early for a weekend adventure in Minami Sanriku, lead by the fantastic people at Ohana International School. …
Satoumi Farm – BBQ & Wool Workshop

Satoumi Farm – BBQ & Wool Workshop

For PTG’s August workshop, we partnered with Satoumi Farm to enjoy outdoor activities with families in Minami Sanriku. …
Iriya Umeboshi Workshop

Iriya Umeboshi Workshop

PTG’s July workshop took place at Iriya Community Center on Sunday, July 24, 2016. There were approximately 26 participants, of which two were children—a six-year-old girl and her little brother. …
Nagoya Mosaic Workshop

Nagoya Mosaic Workshop

PTG’s June workshop was held on June 11th at Hotel Kanyo. This event was focused on bringing children and their families in Minami Sanriku (MSR) together to enjoy mosaic art. …
Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Volunteering and citizenship (corporate social responsibility) is a very important part of the work of all of our employees at Hogan Lovells and we encourage full participation in these types of activities.  In the case of choosing which charities to support… …
Kamiwarizaki Day Camp

Kamiwarizaki Day Camp

PTG’s May workshop was held on May 28th at the Kamiwarizaki Camp Site.  It was a large event that focused on children and families in Minami Sanriku (MSR), in celebration of spring time together, and with members of the international community. …
Ohana Art Workshop

Ohana Art Workshop

On January 24th, a cold wave hit Minami Sanriku with a light dusting of snow. Ten children arrived at the Portal Center and warmed up the room by the time we began our first art workshop …