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WA soccer team uses hands to aid Japan

Players and friends make 1000 origami cranes to sell to assist victims

Katie Scalzo, Kourtny Schwerdtman, and Sarah Mack work on origami cranes.

Members of the Wyoming Area soccer team show their creations which they will sell to aid earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan.

Photos submitted

On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. Not only did the earthquake cause destruction but the tsunami waves (reaching up to 124 feet high) that followed minutes later, traveled up to six miles inland and ravaged the island country.

After all was said and done, 13,591 people died, 4,916 were injured and 14,497 people are reported missing. Approximately 4.4 million households were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.

The horrible events in Japan caused first-year Wyoming Area girls’ soccer coach Mike Pryor to want to help in some way. After some research, Pryor found that an origami crane is a symbol of hope in Japan and 1000 of them makes a wish come true. So Pryor and his soccer players went to work.

“They say when you make 1000 origami cranes a person’s wish comes true and it grants happiness and health and peace,” said Pryor.

So Pryor organized an event, calling it “1000 Cranes,” during which his team as well as other Wyoming Area students set out to fold origami cranes and use them to raise money to be given to the American Red Cross to aide in the Japan relief efforts.

On April 12, from 5 to 9 p.m., 32 Wyoming Area students and friends got together to design and fold 1000 origami cranes to sell for $1 each. It took them four hours but they reached their goal of 1000 origami cranes.

Creating an origami crane only requires a perfectly square piece of paper, preferably origami paper, but takes approximately 20 small steps.

“One thousand origami cranes is a pretty complicated process,” Pryor said with a chuckle. “If you’re pretty good at it you can make an origami crane in 3-4 minutes. Needless to say, the girls’ hands are a little bit tired but luckily we don’t use them all that much.”

Pryor, who is getting his MBA at Wilkes University and is interested in developing projects for a cause, is hoping that people other than the Wyoming Area soccer team take his idea and run with it.

“Seeing the situation in Japan and how much help they need over there, I’m trying to start this movement where it doesn’t stop with the Wyoming Area girls’ soccer team,” said Pryor. “Hopefully other teams and schools and organizations find this inspirational and organize their own event.”

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