Welcome to the Almond Community Network website.
ACN is a non-profit organization registered with the City of Yokohama. Active listening (keichō in Japanese) is the central pillar of all of our activities. ACN provides social support services for families with a variety of problems, including students who stop attending school, mothers who need help raising their children, and a variety of other community building activities.
About Almond Community Network (NPO)
The goal of Almond Community Network is to create an inclusive society and a peaceful community where residents do not become socially isolated. For that purpose the NPO carries out support activities based on the practice of listening carefully to people (“active listening”).
The NPO addresses a wide range of social issues, including the problems of elementary and junior high school students who have stopped attending school, high school students who have dropped out, young people who are socially withdrawn or are NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), TCKs (“Third Culture Kids” who because of globalization grow up in a culture or language different from that of their parents), and children living in poverty (who now account for 1 in 6 children in Japan). When we lent our ear and listened carefully to the faint voices that are not usually heard in society, what we noticed more than anything else were the conditions of children who cannot put into words the difficulties of their own lives. As a holistic response to these problems the NPO began a new activity in 2016 called “Almond ♡ Children’s Cafeteria.”
The NPO operates in northern Yokohama and since its founding in November, 2012 the number of dues-paying members has grown to more than 100, and it has also earned the support and funding of the local government. As its main activity, the NPO has developed support services for children, young people and their families. The services include “ibasho” support (where people needing support have a chance to escape social pressure and just be themselves), educational support, support for everyday life and counseling. Every year requests come in from government officials, Parent-Teacher Associations at elementary and junior high schools and other organizations asking for us to teach classes or give lectures about active listening. We train volunteer workers in active listening, teach classes in parent and child communication, and teach classes and give lectures on other topics relating to active listening. Through the generous cooperation of volunteer groups, social welfare councils, local social workers, local children’s advocates and government organizations, we have also started up path-breaking support activities for people who are facing difficulties in their lives, including children, young people and their families. These include holistic support activities that cut across the vertical divisions of government support agencies and “accompanying” (bansōgata) support activities where volunteers provide ongoing, dynamic support by “following along” the people receiving support.
Many people experience difficulty in life, including children and families who have complex, multidimensional problems (especially families headed by single-parents or families with children who have disabilities), and many local volunteers are needed to provide support to them. We will press forward in our efforts to train people who can do “active listening” and can “follow along” and provide ongoing support to children and their families.
Almond Community Network (NPO)
For an explanation in English of the founding of ACN see our statement of purpose here.
For more information or to find out how to make a donation contact us at almondcommunitynetwork (at) gmail (dot) com.
EKINIWA KITAYAMATA Bldg. 1F2F, 1-9-3 Kitayamata Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama-shi, 224-0021 JAPAN