MEDA June 2016 Volunteer of the Month: Misaki Murai

BlogEach month, the Mission Economic Development Agency honors one of its dedicated volunteers — the people who are an integral part of MEDA’s ability to provide free services to low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents. Thanks to all of the selfless MEDA volunteers who choose Plaza Adelante as their second home. 

Name: Misaki Murai
Program: Workforce Development

Why did you decide to volunteer with MEDA?
I have been into ships since I was young, and I have been focusing my job hunting on the shipping industry; however, as I was on the process of doing the industry research, I realized how ignorant I was about the social structure. When I was a sophomore, I became a volunteer in Cambodia for a NGO company — and their activity of not pursuing profit fascinated me. So I thought I would like to know more about various types of NGO activities, and I decided to volunteer with MEDA.

What projects have you worked on as a volunteer?
Because I would like to introduce jobs to MEDA’s clients as much as possible, I have visited restaurants, hotels and so on in San Francisco and asked their managers about job openings. in an attempt to create job lists, which are sent to clients by emails. Regardless of the department, I have attended a number of meetings and had an opportunity to know more about MEDA’s projects.

What do you like best about volunteering at MEDA?
I like the atmosphere and the culture of MEDA. Everyone takes me to restaurants that they recommend, teache me yoga and Spanish, and they even gave me a birthday card. MEDA is full of caring people who are constantly watching over me, an overseas student, and I think that is one of the reasons why I like MEDA. Even my co-workers from different departments kindly talk to me when I pass by them or meet at the kitchen. I am happy to commute to work at MEDA everyday.

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I can feel the difference between the American and Japanese working style. When I was back home in Japan, I could never imagine myself the way each worker is encouraged to speak up their opinions at the meeting and how we are close to our clients. I would like to absorb MEDA’s valuable and marvelous corporate culture as much as I can and convey that to everyone in Japan when I go back home.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?
I have played basketball for 12 years since I was an 8-year-old. I have always liked physical activities, and I could quickly learn any kind of sport to some extent. My major is physical education at my university in Japan, and I am currently being taught sports such as swimming, javelin throwing and apparatus gymnastics by gold-medal players from the past Olympics and Asian tournaments. The toughest training I have been through was a long-distance swim in a storm.

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