When TELL outreach organizer Saya Tanahara, 34, returned home to Okinawa in 2019, she was looking for an opportunity to help those with experiences like her own.

“It’s a very typical Okinawan girl’s story,” Tanahara recalls while sitting in TELL’s Okinawa offices near American Village in Chatan. “I married a Marine, and we lived in the States for about six years. Then I came back as a single mother of three children.

“I wanted to contribute to the community here. TELL seemed like a great opportunity to use my experiences — as an Okinawan and as someone who had experienced military life — to help people.”