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Where There's A Need: Amy Phillips, One of NCI's Founders and Former Program Coordinator

Amy Phillips is one of NCI's core founders, who really advocated for the youth to have a respected voice in this community.  She is also a former NCI program coordinator and currently helps with NCI as a workshop leader.  In an interview, she talks about the need for NCI:

"Yeah I think there are a lot of young people who have a lot of skills and talents.  I think the other thing that was really apparent in the Spectrum conference is that a lot of the students who participated were already leaders, leaders of their campus organizations, leaders of their Junior YBA, or other youth groups.  They put on large events.  You know, you think about some of the NSU culture night or culture show type of things.  That’s project management.  That’s like hundreds of people.  They’re getting at UCLA at like 3000 people who show up to their event, which is more than what most of our community organizations are able to pull in.  So if you think about it that way, all the skills are there for a lot of these young people.

A lot of times, at that point at least, when they graduated from college, they were also graduating out of the Nikkei community, focusing on career things and there wasn’t a real bridge to community activities unless some people had some real specific things that they would be involved in.  But I think, in that sense, we still have thriving campus organizations and great leadership.  Not just great potential, but existing leadership and a lot of it is the question of how to translate that back into the community. 

And we’ve always been very aware of the fact that…and this is again, an intentional design for NCI…we’ve been aware of the fact that most people will not necessarily work in the non-profit sector.  And that’s okay.  And that’s why we take engineers and bio majors and whatever else.  You don’t have to be Asian American studies and what not because the future of the community is not just staff and institutions.  It’s about voluteers, it’s board members.  Those are all things that we want to cultivate and I think that will ALWAYS be a need.  That need will never go away in the Japanese American community. 

We have the things that we, the institutions that are really important that we want to preserve and at the other end of the spectrum you have the cultural practices, the food, the things that happen in the family, and in between you have all of these volunteers or gatekeepers, the person in the family who says, 'we gotta get together at Bachan’s house for Oshogatsu.'  And then you know, the person says, 'I’m gonna be the one to organize the volunteers for the next Nisei Week.'  You know, whatever it is.  So I think those skills, that need will always be there. "

Based on this original

NCI Amy Phillips Workshop
uploaded by mkochiyama
NCI Amy Phillips Workshop 2011 Photo courtesy of NCI program More »


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