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NCI Alumni Reflection: Aya Ino

NCI 2006 (Class 5)

Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC)

 I interned at the JCCCNC in the Development Department under Chris Hirano.  My main job was to work with the donor base on the annual fundraiser event called Love Letters, a play starring and reuniting stars James Shigeta and Nancy Kwan.  I learned how to solicit donations over the phone, in letters and in press releases.  Because of my fluency in Japanese, I also collaborated with the Programs Department in preparing for Shinzen, a basketball exchange program held for eighth graders from the Kobe YMCA in Japan and the United States.  From our weekly networking days, I also had the opportunity to meet many community leaders in San Francisco Japantown.

 After graduating from UCLA and coming back from the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, I was able to land a full-time position as the Program Associate at the JCCCNC and the Project Coordinator of the California Nisei College Diploma Project.  My responsibilities included improving and coordinating programs and events for young people and students to learn about Japanese culture and/or experiences around the Japanese American internment.  My involvement with the JCCCNC also allowed me to work on greater issues affecting San Francisco's Japantown, such as organizing young adults of an independent group called nihonmachiROOTS, to have a voice in building the future of the community.

 I currently live in New York City and am getting my Masters in Education at Columbia University.  Through this experience, and as an advocate for the Asian American community, I am hoping to explore ways of educating and empowering the next generation to create a difference within their communities.

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NCI Alumni Reflection: Aya Ino
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