TYAFP participants visit Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.
TYAFP participants visit Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California is inviting interested youth (14-17 years old) to apply for its two-year Takahashi Youth Ambassador Fellowship Program, which culminates with a 10-day trip to Japan.

This unique youth scholarship program is open to 8th-11th grade students interested in learning more about their Nikkei heritage, gaining valuable leadership skills, participating in their community, creating international friendships and experiencing culture first-hand through a trip to Japan in the summer of 2015.

The generosity of Henri and Tomoye Takahashi’s charitable foundation made this program possible.

The creation of this program incorporates best practices and experiences of previous programs of the JCCCNC, which have continued to emphasize civic and community involvement; developing a sense of responsibility as world citizens; knowing and understanding more about one’s role as an individual of Japanese descent in the U.S.; and how individual citizens of any age can play a role in creating a better understanding and relationship with their foreign neighbors, particularly in Japan.

In addition, by focusing on leadership and civic development, the youth build a strong background and foundation for their career resumes. All participants who successfully complete the TYAFP will receive a Certificate of Completion, as well as personal letters or certificates of commendation from the Consulate General of Japan, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives members, and California Senate and Assembly members.

In the first summer of the program, the youth will participate in six workshops focusing on Japanese American community, heritage, history and leadership development. Within the second summer (2015), the youth will continue to build their leadership skills, but will shift their focus on planning and preparing for their trip to Japan.

The youth will organize and lead volunteer activities in Sendai and Kesennuma in Tohoku, live on a traditional Japanese farm in Osaka (San Francisco’s sister city), and cap the trip off in Kobe, where they will visit an orphanage, a technical community college, and participate in a three-night homestay experience with a Japanese family.

The application deadline is Friday, April 11. For more information, contact the JCCCNC at (415) 567-5505 or go online to www.jcccnc.org/programs/shinzen.htm.

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