A group of about 35 Japanese mothers put in hundreds of hours each year as a dynamic force at Hickory Elementary School, home to one of the largest Japanese student bodies in southern California.

“We see them every day and they help us so much,” said Sharon Poling, a fifth-grade teacher who welcomes their presence in places such as the library, the copy center and the classrooms, where they work behind the scenes to keep things flowing smoothly.

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