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Nikkei Community Internship's 10th Anniversary!


NCI Alumni Reflection: Cory Hayashi

When I first applied for NCI, I was mostly looking for a summer job that allowed me to get involved with the JA community.  What I got instead was a lifetime commitment to a community that has given me so much.  While working as an NCI intern, I was more than a summer volunteer at JACL, but instead a valued staff member learning how to operate within a vast non-profit community.  Besides my duties with JACL, I found myself working alongside key figures from a host of other organizations at festivals, events, and community meetings.  I learned that the "JA community" wasn't just a few organizations that met once a month to put on basketball leagues and scholarship programs for youth or host social events for like-minded people, but instead an intricate network of organizations taking care of the needs of its people, whether they be political, social, cultural, economic, entertainment, or anything else that may come up.  As we see an influx of mixed race and non-Japanese in the JA culture, many fear for the loss of our culture, however as long as our non-profits thrive, the spirit of our community and culture will remain unchanged.

Since completing NCI, I have stayed in touch with the program serving briefly as Alumni Coordinator, and more recently helping conduct interviews for prospective interns.  In addition, I have had extensive involvement with two JA non-profits.  I am a founding member of Little Tokyo Roots, an organization for young adults invested in revitalizing the Little Tokyo community through social events to stimulate the local businesses as well as advocacy work to protect the interests of the tenants of Little Tokyo.  I am a volunteer with the Nisei Week Foundation, serving as a Hospitality Committee member, as which I help introduce the Little Tokyo community to visitors of the festival, and also as the chair of the World Gyoza Eating Championship, an event designed to bring a large, mostly non-JA audience to Little Tokyo   and introduce them to a staple of Japanese cuisine, gyoza.  Through this contest, I hope to bring media attention from all over the world and for one day, have it focused on the thriving community and culture within Little Tokyo.

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NCI Alumni Reflection: Cory Hayashi
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NCI Alumni Reflection: Cory Hayashi Photo courtesy of Cory Hayashi More »

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