(Group Photo of Participants on Noguchi Stones at JACCC Plaza)
Last tuesday I attending one of the sessions for this years Project Community Program. Project Community is a summer youth program created by the Pacific Southwest Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. Project Community was started in 2008 by the JACL PSW district and is intended for high school students, to empower youth, increase their voice in the community, as well help them understand the importance of community and community preservation. The program is statewide in Northern California and Southern California in Japantown SF and Little Tokyo LA. The program emerged from an understanding that preserving Japanese American culture, community and remaining Japan towns requires youth interest and involvement.
Participants are immersed in an 8 Week summer session that meets every tuesday evening in Little Tokyo. Each session is different each having its own theme and focus. Some of the themes include Identity and Community, the power of place, Little Tokyo in danger, and community organizations. Sessions also have visits to Little Tokyo Community organizations, guest speakers, and interactive workshops. They also are will be creating a collaborative art piece that will be displayed at the end of the program during their Culmination event.
(JACL PSW Regional Director Craig Ishii leading a discussion)
Over this last session the participants started out playing a quick ice breaker, then a small workshop was given on community organizations, what they do, how they function and different types. We then went on a tour of the of the grounds of the JACCC or Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, where we saw the different facilities such as the Noguchi Plaza, James Irvine Japanese Garden and dropped in during JACCC board meeting.
(Participants at JACCC Board Meeting)
They would then continue on to The Japanese American National Musuem to hear the story of the creation and importance having such a museum inside Little Tokyo. The the would go to the Little Tokyo Service Center where Executive Director Bill Watanabe would give them some background information on LTSC and what they do. Afterwards the participants returned to the JACCC, and concluded by starting the creative process for the culmination art piece.
(Participants at LTSC)