Rising Stars 1 and 2 alumni at the 10th anniversary celebration, held in June at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.

The Nikkei Federation announces its 11th annual Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program for high school students.

The program is scheduled to take place on selected Saturdays from October 2013 through March 2014 at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo. The JACCC is the venue sponsor and The Rafu Shimpo is the media sponsor.

Deadline to apply is Saturday, Aug. 31. Applications may be filed online at www.nikkeifederation.org/risingstars/application.html.

The goal of the program is to provide leadership skills to high school youth and inspire them to cultivate an ongoing involvement with the Japanese American community by presenting a series of active, engaging workshops on a variety of topics. Participants will gain experience in community service and learn about the Japanese American experience as well as to learn how to work in groups.

“We understand that the future of our community lies in the hands our youth,” said Ron Dyo, Rising Stars chair. “The program was established 10 years ago to reach out to youth to give them an opportunity to gain skills and introduce them to the Japanese community.  We just celebrated our 10-year anniversary in June and it was gratifying to see our alumni and to learn first-hand how the skills that are taught in this program have helped the participants in their academic, professional and community endeavors. And our goal is to reach out to more youth in our community with the hope that they will come back to the community as leaders.”

Professional trainers who are also community leaders, from a variety of backgrounds and industries, lead the workshops. The six interactive workshops cover topics geared towards developing leadership skills and increasing understanding of Japanese American culture and history:

* “Teamwork” teaches students about different personality types and how best to deal with personalities that are similar to and different from their own.

* “Assertiveness” explores the advantages and disadvantages of assertive versus passive behavior in school and at work, and where to draw the line between assertive and overly assertive behavior. 

* “Speak to Persuade” teaches the practical elements of an effective presentation, including the importance of body language, eye contact, voice modulation, and hand gestures as well as structuring the speech.

* “Financial Fitness” introduces the students to basic and practical financial skills.

* “Cultural Values,” is designed to recognize stereotype-based biases that may affect the students in their education and careers and how to deal with them.

* “Networking” teaches the students about the benefits of networking and gives practical tips on how to approach and talk to people in a variety of settings.

Outings are designed to introduce the students to historic Little Tokyo. They include a tour of the Japanese American National Museum, a walking tour, and a scavenger hunt.

Students also plan and execute a group project, engage in special planning meetings, and participate in cultural activities and social activities. The 10-session program concludes with a graduation reception. Two additional group project and social activities take place at an off-site location. Optional parent activities are also scheduled.

Feedback from past participants has been overwhelmingly positive. The students have said the program has helped them in their academic careers and personal lives, and have given them a greater awareness and appreciation of the Japanese American community.

“The speakers we had taught us practical skills as well as a better understanding of our culture,” said Nicole Elby, a graduate of the fifth Rising Stars program. “We learned about our cultural values and how to find a balance between being a doormat and being overbearing. I especially gained from the sessions about how to work in groups and the importance of networking. I’ve already implemented the networking skills, which really helped me with a school project!”

Enrollment is limited to 25 maximum. Applications and supporting documents must be postmarked by Aug. 31. Participants must be enrolled in high school. For more information, visit www.nikkeifederation.org/risingstars/.

A program fee of $200 per student will be charged upon acceptance. Fee includes lunch and snacks for workshop sessions.

The program cost exceeds the participation fees, and the Nikkei Federation must raise funds to present the program. For sponsorship opportunities, visit www.nikkeifederation.org or contact Glenn Nakatani at P.O. Box 4235, Covina, CA  91723, (626) 915-5338, (626) 915-2699 (fax), or risingstarsyouth@gmail.com. The Nikkei Federation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Rising Stars 3 and 4 alumni.
Rising Stars 4, 5 and 6 alumni.
Rising Stars 6 and 7 alumni.
Rising Stars 8 and 9 alumni.
Rising Stars 9 and 10 alumni.

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