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Volunteers create life changing experiences for children recovering from natural disasters.

Place to Grow was founded as a long-term response to the events surrounding 3/11 and the needs of affected communities in the Tohoku region as they engage in recovery and rebuilding efforts. For many children in Tohoku now, the future is uncertain. Parents are unsure if they can financially, emotionally, and educationally support their children. Sustainable support is crucial for these communities to continue rebuilding and moving forward.

The Place to Grow collaboration with NHS is intended to provide:

• leadership opportunities for NHS students within Place to Grow from the beginning
• volunteer opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people, and take on a challenge
• official partnership that NHS members can work on as teams while fulfilling hours goals


Speaker Profiles


Angela Marie Ortiz (June 6th, 1982) is an American-Colombian, long term resident of Japan. Raised in northern Japan, she has lived over 10 years in Tokyo as an Educator, Humanitarian Aid Coordinator and as a CSR professional.  Angela co-founded the non-profit O.G.A. for Aid in 2011 following the triple disasters of Tohoku–the great eastern Japan earthquake and tsunami, and then lead it's growth and evolution into non-profit Place to Grow in 2015, as founder and managing director.  The organization is the longest running international aid organization in the region with over 50 projects implemented and funding approximately 1.2 million dollars in community building workshops and recovery projects.   Angela Marie Ortiz is passionate about connecting communities, ideas and people and lectures at universities and associations on sustainability, disaster management and volunteering.


Tyler Harder (August 22nd, 1978) is from Vancouver, Canada and has lived in Japan for more than 10 years.  His background in design, development, and technology lead to his founding of a digital marketing company in Tokyo based on the principles of visual storytelling and social data.  Tyler brings his perspective on digital and social communications to the organization, joining at first as a volunteer with O.G.A. for Aid in 2014, and then as one of the founding directors of Place to Grow in 2015.  Tyler works to realize the potential of the Place to Grow network in redefining how volunteering works in a social, mobile, and highly interconnected world.  He sees how both survivors and volunteers gain strength through standing up and choosing to make our mark individually on ourselves and those around us.


Event Workshop Videos

Place to Grow is a space for creativity, imagination, and inspiration to flourish in post-disaster communities. Survivors and outside volunteers connect, bringing an explosion of positive energy to the community. In Japan, monthly interactive children's workshops and annual inter-generational community events are at the core of Place to Grow.  Watch some of our event and workshop videos here:


Activity List

Three teams with 5 activities each have been setup specifically to form the core of NHS support to Place to Grow.  These activities can be undertake within 1-2 hours / week, and can all be performed remotely.  Leadership roles of each team may require some additional meetings with the Place to Grow team in Tokyo to coordinate activities.


1) Lead Team
2) Communications Strategy
3) Manage Assets / Edit Moments
4) Manage Partner Media
5) Collect Stats, News & Big Picture


1) Lead Team
2) Internal Communications Tracking
3) Share Awards
4) Show Appreciation
5) Promote Internal Sharing


1) Lead Team
2) Organize Volunteer Social
3) Activate Volunteer Social
4) Activate Volunteer Social
5) Activate Volunteer Social