USJC, in partnership with iLEAP and the Nisei Veterans Committee, held a community gathering on March 10 in Seattle. This event marked the fifth anniversary of the Triple Disaster, and memorialized the resilience of both the people of Tohoku and the Japanese War veterans of World War II.
Council Leader Britt Yamamoto founded iLEAP and is its Executive Director
The program was attended by 60 people who were USJC members, iLEAP scholars participating in the TOMODACHI Social Innovation in Seattle (SIIS) Scholars Program, and supporters in the community. The evening started with guided tours of the Nisei Veterans' Hall, followed by a program that reflected on the Tohoku disaster and the five years of progress.
Board Member Jill Nishi welcomed the guests on behalf of USJC, and two iLEAP scholars discussed their involvement in TOMODACHI. Both students gave a very moving speech about their experiences in Tohoku and their activities with the program.
Council Leader John Okamoto addresses the iLEAP Scholars participating in the TOMODACHI SIIS Program.
The TOMODACHI SIIS Program is a five-week leadership training program, and USJC members Lynn Hashimoto, Harold Taniguchi, John Okamoto, Diane Adachi and Colleen Fukui-Sketchley served as mentors to the young scholars. Council Leader John Okamoto talked about his role as a mentor and how this program created a great opportunity for member engagement.
The iLEAP Scholars share a laugh with Council Leader Harold Taniguchi (left)
USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa discussed the current state of USJC and invited everyone to attend the 2016 USJC Annual Conference in November. Council Leader Britt Yamamoto, who is also the Executive Director and Founder of iLEAP, closed the event by discussing the impact of developing a large group of future leaders in Japan.
An iLEAP Scholar with Council Leader Lori Whaley (right) and USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa (center)
This is the third year of the TOMODACHI SIIS Program, which aims to build a strong base of over 200 future leaders who can work together to affect positive change in Japan.
Click here to see more photos, courtesy of iLEAP.