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Markie Bonar, left, Marine Thrift Shop manager, and Master Sgt. Mike Hansen talk with students at AmerAsian School in Okinawa on Thursday, a school in Ginowan City for children of American-Japanese descent. Thrift shop officials donated $4,000 to the school to be used for scholarships for less-privileged children to pay for school tuition.

Markie Bonar, left, Marine Thrift Shop manager, and Master Sgt. Mike Hansen talk with students at AmerAsian School in Okinawa on Thursday, a school in Ginowan City for children of American-Japanese descent. Thrift shop officials donated $4,000 to the school to be used for scholarships for less-privileged children to pay for school tuition. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Markie Bonar, left, Marine Thrift Shop manager, and Master Sgt. Mike Hansen talk with students at AmerAsian School in Okinawa on Thursday, a school in Ginowan City for children of American-Japanese descent. Thrift shop officials donated $4,000 to the school to be used for scholarships for less-privileged children to pay for school tuition.

Markie Bonar, left, Marine Thrift Shop manager, and Master Sgt. Mike Hansen talk with students at AmerAsian School in Okinawa on Thursday, a school in Ginowan City for children of American-Japanese descent. Thrift shop officials donated $4,000 to the school to be used for scholarships for less-privileged children to pay for school tuition. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Andrea Tatayon, left, chairperson for the Marine Thrift Shop board, presents Mimi Thayer, the AmerAsian School in Okinawa director and education manager, with a donation of $4,000 at the school in Ginowan City on Thursday. The donation will be used as scholarships for the school's mostly American-Japanese students, Thayer said.

Andrea Tatayon, left, chairperson for the Marine Thrift Shop board, presents Mimi Thayer, the AmerAsian School in Okinawa director and education manager, with a donation of $4,000 at the school in Ginowan City on Thursday. The donation will be used as scholarships for the school's mostly American-Japanese students, Thayer said. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

GINOWAN CITY, Okinawa — The Marine Thrift Shop donated $4,000 Thursday to AmerAsian School on Okinawa — a gift that will make a real difference, school officials said.

The small school in Ginowan City was founded in 1998 as a place for children of American and Japanese descent to learn about both sides of their cultural heritage, Mimi Thayer, the school’s director/education program manager, said Thursday.

Too often the educational needs of these children, many of whom are raised in a single-parent home after their American servicemember fathers leave Okinawa, are ignored, Thayer said. The school does not receive support from the Japanese or local governments and relies primarily on donations, she said.

The Marine Thrift Shop board felt the school would be the perfect recipient for the donation made in honor of Larry Alsop, a retired servicemember and prior board member who died last year, said Andrea Tatayon, chairwoman for the board.

"The board wanted to give back to the local community," Tatayon said. "What better way to give back than a place that helps both communities and supports children with American blood."

The entire donation will be used for scholarships, Thayer said as she accepted the donation, tears filling her eyes.

American donations and volunteers help make the school possible, Thayer said as she talked about the hardships of keeping the school going.

"Americans are very generous, very heartfelt," Thayer said.


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