Japantown Youth Leaders (JYL)
1840 Sutter St., Ste 207, San Francisco, CA 94115 | tel.415.563.8052 | fax. 415.921.1841
The Japantown Youth Leaders (JYL) program is designed to foster leadership development and engage participants in activities that support their personal development. The goal of the program is to empower youth by supporting their development as resources for themselves, their peers, their families and their community. The program is comprised of 2 components: 1) a youth leadership council and 2) a summer youth leadership team.
Participants of the Youth Leadership Council meet weekly at JCYC to participate in leadership training, personal growth activities, plan community service projects, and participate in recreational activities. Trainings focus on topics such as group facilitation, public speaking, and conflict resolution. In addition, personal development workshops focus on topics such as improving verbal and non-verbal communications skills, decision-making skills, values clarification, racism/ethnic stereotypes, postsecondary education opportunities, financial aid opportunities, SAT preparation, domestic violence prevention, STD’s, and family relations.
The council members plan and implement 10 community service projects each year. Service projects include activities such as supporting neighborhood beautification efforts, performing services for other organizations of the community, and participating in various community events. Past community service projects have supported community events such as the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, Nihonmachi Steet Fair, Oshogatsu Festival (children’s New Year’s celebration), San Francisco’s Clean Sweep, and the Fillmore Project (project to promote understanding between youth in the Western Addition). Other projects have included serving food at the Episcopal Sanctuary, cleaning the Japantown Peace Plaza and surrounding area, and organizing a Halloween Carnival for children with the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California.
Council members will also identify opportunities to voice their concerns on issues that impact young people. Select members will be identified to participate in public forums to express the positions of the full council. In the past, council members have participated in hearings of the SF Board of Supervisors and the Redevelopment Commission and were also active participants in the campaign to renew the San Francisco Children’s Amendment.
Youth participating on the summer leadership team serve as leaders for JCYC’s Tomodachi Summer Program. Upon being trained, each team member is assigned to a small group of children from JCYC’s Summer Tomodachi Program. Under the supervision of adult supervisors, team members escort their group of children out on daily activities for a 9-week period. Youth plan weekly activities that are age appropriate, monitor group budgets, and participate in debriefing and cross-training sessions weekly. JCYC’s extensive experience implementing programs involving children and youth have demonstrated that youth working with younger children encourages responsibility, compassion and exposure to diverse groups.