A Teacher’s Legacy

Taylor Anderson was fascinated with Japan since she was a young child. Determined to one day live there, Taylor realized her dream in 2008. She studied the language and culture, and was teaching English in one of the country's coastal cities when a devastating tsunami struck the country in March 2011.

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The area where she lived and worked has been completely wiped out. There is a section along the main road and there is debris going miles inland. They have cleaned a lot of it up, but it will take a while for it to be a functional space again. Two of her schools are gone. They now exist in temporary buildings on the playgrounds of her other schools. It was amazing to see how they fixed that problem. Our fund can’t support rebuilding the schools, so we are focused on rebuilding the students’ spirits. Programs that we are supporting, Smile Kids Japan for one, have therapists available to talk to the children who were affected by the tsunami. We also send them anything to lift their spirits, like toys, games, and even a Wii!

What is your fondest memory of Taylor as it relates to her passion for teaching/helping the children of Japan?

Every time you skyped with her, she would show you what she had planned for the next day. It was always fun to see how she would get her students excited about American culture.

Christmas Taylor

What do you think will be Taylor’s biggest legacy?

Her biggest legacy is that she is a bridge between Japan and the U.S. That is how her colleagues view her in Japan. She has given so many people the opportunity to explore a new world that may never have been available before. For example, some of her students have just visited the U.S. through a government exchange program. That is just one example of cultural exchange inspired by Taylor. Through her fund, we plan on continuing on being the bridge that Taylor once was.

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