DHS student to embark on 3-week study in Japan; donations welcomed

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Pictured above, Jessica is seen alongside her mother, Debra.



On June 18, 2018, 17-year-old Jessica Neloms will embark on a 3-week summer study of Tokyo, Japan. The Dyersburg High School junior says she has planning the trip since she was in the 8th grade. Jessica says she has always embraced Japanese values and hopes to spend her time overseas learning as much first-hand knowledge of the people and language as possible.

Pictured above, Jessica’s mother, Debra Neloms is seen with Japan native Sue Kanashiro -- Jessica’s best friend’s mother. Jessica says the friendship forged between the two families played a great role in her initial interest in Japan and in learning more about eastern culture.

“The program allows you to spend a minimum of 2 weeks studying a language in any country you want, and you can earn high school and college credits through this program,” explained Jessica. “I’ve always watched a lot of anime and everything. I just liked the way they illustrated their culture through animation.

“When 6th grade came, I actually got a chance to meet someone from Japan, and she became my best friend. Our moms actually met each other and even got their GEDs together. Her whole family was just so respectful, nice and open-minded; knowing them really enhanced my desire to want to go there and learn more -- experience the culture for myself.”

Jessica applied for the trip through International Language Campuses, a program offering students ages 16 and older and opportunity to learn abroad in programs lasting 1-52 weeks. Using funds saved through a multitude of odd-and-end jobs, yard sales, bake sales and her evening job at McDonald’s, Jessica has successfully saved up roughly $3,300 and now needs only $2,500 more to secure the air fare, which she is hoping to raise by the end of May.

Esther Hugueley, a volunteer of New Life Union Mission, has aided Jessica in her fundraising efforts from the very start, helping her to establish a secure bank account in which to deposit funds.

“Jessica was a part of Youth Enterprises for 3 years, from her 8th grade year to her sophomore year. There were a lot of people who really appreciated Jessica’s interest and have allowed her to raise funds by performing odd jobs and other tasks. She raised $50 in one week by selling fried Oreos,” laughed Esther.

A Go Fund Me account has been created to help Jessica raise funds for her trip to Japan. Donations may be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/language-abroad.

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