WE ACTION DAY – Hopes and dreams for the children’s future!
CHIFURE AS ELFEN SAITAMA plays with kids from children’s home

CHIFURE AS ELFEN SAITAMA interacted with elementary school kids living in children’s home in Kumagaya City. Through play and dialogue, they demonstrated the beauty of having hopes and dreams for the future.

On December 5, CHIFURE AS ELFEN SAITAMA invited 25 elementary school kids living in the two children’s home – Osato and Konan, to the Yoshioka Elementary School in Kumagaya City. The players designed a program for the kids to play and a talk show where the kids can think about the importance of having hopes and dreams.

The players and kids gathered wearing a matching WE ACTION DAY original hoodie. The hoodie was designed by one of the outfield players, Miku Kojima with colorful signatures from all the players on the back. Emi Yamamoto, the midfielder and captain of the team, called out "let's have all the fun we can today!" as they officially opened the event.

After self-introductions, the team kicked off with the "Elfen Show," in which the players showed off their professional skills like amazing ball juggling. When Kozue Setoguchi, the midfielder – kicked the ball into the target frame in one attempt, the crowd went wild and the kids got very excited.

The next program consisted of different games. The players came up with games that everyone can enjoy, like tail-tag, hand-holding game, beanbag toss and ball fetch. The hand-holding game got the children who were initially nervous to relax, as they held hands with the players who were welcoming them with a big smile.

After the fun games, the captain, Emi Yamamoto hosted a talk show. The main theme for the talk was about "what you currently enjoy.” Regards to the planning of this talk show, Emi said "I incorporated group work so that we could get the kids talking and have the players actively involved to follow up on the conversations as well.”

The talk show started off where Emi shared her own difficulties that she has faced in football, what her thought process was and what she did to overcome them. She concluded "Even if things get tough, if you think hard and work hard, you can always grow. So put everything into what you enjoy.”

After listening to Emi's talk, the kids were split into groups where they reflected on what they like, their dreams and what they could do to achieve them. They then presented their dreams that included an astronaut, illustrator, football player and the kids talked about what they can do to achieve their dreams.

The program concluded with an autograph session by all the players. The kids stated "It was fun to talk with the players," "I now have a favorite player," "I want to play football with them," and "I want to see them again.” As they expressed their gratification with a smile on their faces.

Eriko Arakawa, a forward player who also represented the Japanese national team, recalled "I almost cried at the end. I was touched by the children's dream of wanting to put a smile on everyone’s face. They may face difficulties in the future, but I want them keep their heads up and I too want to continue working hard as well.”

Riko Yoshida, a midfielder originally from the youth team who also scored two goals in the first half of the season, said "Our hearts grew a lot closer than I imagined. If I hadn't become a WE League player, I wouldn't have been able to experience something like this.” Mentioning how it was also a valuable opportunity for the players as well.

Yosuke Nakamura, the Head of Konan Children’s Home said, "To be honest, I was worried because some of the kids are not even able to attend school, but I was relieved to see that the players were able to get the kids actively involved. I hope that through these events, the kids can see that many people are rooting for them," as he expressed his hopes for further involvement with the WE League Teams.

The Kumagaya City Office helped connect the team with the children’s homes to make this event a reality. Ms. Honami Mizuochi from the Kumagaya City Office said, "I am very grateful that the team has proposed this event. It’s a really good experience for the kids, so I would be delighted if the team continues these activities in the future as well.”