Sasebo group to host upcoming Far East Bazaar March 25 & 26
For more than 25 years, the Sasebo Community Association has been raising funds to help the local military community through its biannual Oriental Bazaars. The volunteer group helps earn money for organizations such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Junior ROTC, Parent Teacher Organizations, spousal groups, single sailor groups and even provides college scholarships. It also sponsors activities with a local Japanese Children’s and Handicapped person’s homes.
As its spring bazaar is scheduled for Mar. 25 and 26 at Hario Housing Complex, Dianne Hodges, president, treasurer and membership chair of the group recently sat down with Stripes Japan to talk about the group and its upcoming event:
- Can you tell us about your Sasebo Community Association and its members?
Sasebo Community Association will be 25 years old this October. It was previously known as The Sasebo Wardroom, but the name was changed about nine years ago to reflect our community service and community members - both Americans and Japanese. Sasebo Community Association is comprised of active duty military members and their spouses, retired military veterans, DoDEA educators, civilians that are contracted with Command Fleet Activity Sasebo, and local Japanese community members.
- What can people expect at the Bazaar?
Twice a year we host the Sasebo Far East Bazaar. The Spring Bazaar is generally held in March/April time frame and the Fall Far East Bazaar is held in October. We bring in over 20 vendors that sell traditional oriental furniture, clothing, rugs, jewelry and collectibles. We also invite our local community businesses and organizations to either advertise, sell food or handmade items. For the past two years, we have increased the number of local vendors at our bazaars. This allows us to support our military spouses in their business ventures. We also have many organizations that assist at the bazaar, which in turn, allows us to support their organization and fundraising efforts.
- Can you tell us about any other association events coming up?
On March 5, we [began] our partnership with the Sasebo Public Library in providing volunteers to read English books or play games with the Japanese students that go to the library. This is a new venture for us, but we are excited to reach out to the local Japanese people and build on the friendship that we have here in Sasebo. You would think that after the bazaar we would take a little breather, but April finds us busy. We recognize all of the volunteers that have helped us throughout the year with our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. This is a time for us to thank our volunteers because without them our organization would not exist. We have some wonderful food, music, games, and even drawings for prizes.
Also in April, we have our annual Cherry Blossom Festival potluck get-together. We meet at Nimitz Park and spend the evening eating and enjoying the Cherry Blossoms under the starry sky. Our Japanese members enjoy sharing this tradition with our American members. Last year we were rained out, so this year we are hoping that we can continue the tradition.
- How does the association contribute to the Sasebo (military) community?
Sasebo Community Association donates approximately $35,000 to the military community each year. We award academic and citizenship scholarships to graduating high school seniors totaling $4000. The three DoDEA schools in Sasebo receive funds from our organization to assist in their student activities throughout the school year. We support Fleet Family Support Center programs with supplies and materials for children’s events and other family events. The Teen group at Sasebo has also received donations to assist in their team-building activities. The Junior ROTC program at EJ King High School is awarded funds to assist in expenses at their Leadership Academy.
Each year we contribute to the Navy College fund, as they recognize military service members and family members as they achieve a higher degree of education. The Navy League of Sasebo is also a recipient of our contributions. We have recently decided that we will support the Sasebo Housing Service Center in their Yard of the Month campaign. The giving of money is not our only giving. We have participated in beach clean-ups in the Sasebo area as well. It is not just about money, but the giving of time. The SCA motto, “Having fun while giving back to the community,” tells what we are about. Any organization in CFAS is welcome to submit a funds request form to our association.
- How can people become involved with the group?
Sasebo Community Association meets at Galaxies third floor on the second Friday of each month. The food begins around 5 p.m., with the meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. There is also the Facebook page for the Sasebo Community Association, where individuals can find out about our upcoming activities and meetings. We also have an email address that people can send a message:
The Spring Far East Bazaar
Date & Time:
Mar. 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Mar. 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Contact: Dianne Hodges at email@example.com