Youth CAN participants celebrate during the last year’s culmination.

The Youth Community Action Network, or Youth CAN program offers high school students a unique opportunity during the summer to discover their passion for being involved in the Japanese American community, as well as develop skills and experiences in leadership and community organizing.

Coordinated by Kizuna – Uniting Nikkei for the Future, the Youth CAN program seeks to build a future for the Japanese American community through the development of a new generation of passionate, effective and thoughtful community leaders.

The program consists of nine weekly sessions during the summer (June to August) where students engage in interactive workshops and address critical needs in the Japanese American community through community service projects.

The program is built with two tracks, each providing a unique and valuable experience. Track 1 is built for students new to the Youth CAN program. This track introduces concepts of identity, community and Little Tokyo to incoming students. Students learn the basics about the Japanese American community as well as their individual role in its future.

Track 2, developed for returning students, focuses on conceptualizing and implementing community service projects. Students utilize the skills learned, and networks built in previous years to create projects which have a positive impact on the community.

Together, these tracks provide a continual space for high school students to be engaged and involved in the Nikkei community annually during the summer.

The Youth CAN program is one of several initiatives hosted by Kizuna and various other partner organizations in the Nikkei community that seek to build a pipeline of young Japanese Americans leaders. Together, these programs offer a wide variety of learning experiences and ensure commitment from a next generation of youth.

More information about the program, including registration can be found at For additional questions contact Craig Ishii at, or call (213) 973-4465.

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