Jubilee REACH broke ground this week on a new Japanese library on their campus.
“This miracle never would have happened at any place other than Jubilee REACH. What a wonderful moment for us!” said one of the library’s leaders, Yoko Sueyoshi.
For six years, Sueyoshi and others dreamed and worked to find a home for the Tomoshibi Library. It had previously served Bellevue Japanese community for more than 20 years.
Originally run out of a 1,000-square-foot shed in a citizens backyard, it ceased operations in May 2011.
Sueyoshi organized members of the Japanese community to produce fundraising events which yielded about two-thirds of the cost, and many people pledged thousands of volunteer hours – yet the goal was thousands of dollars out of reach. Then GLY Construction stepped up with an offer of labor and materials.
The project broke ground on Feb. 14, just days before the building permit was going to expire.
Jubilee REACH is a center for community building activities and home to a thriving English as Second Language (ESL) program. The new multi-purpose building will house the library and have shared use with ESL classes, KidREACH tutoring and a host of community-building activities. It will house 25,000 volumes.
“Our ultimate goal is that Tomoshibi Library will serve as a bridge between the Japanese and neighborhood communities,” Sueyoshi said.