In 2022, a panel discussion hosted by the United Japanese Society of Hawaiʻi discussed the sustainability of their member organizations. Concerns were raised about waning support from younger community members (under 40 years old) and the lack of future leaders for these organizations. JCCH President and Executive Director Nate Gyotoku, a panelist, expressed that empowering younger community members in board positions, regardless of their experience level, is a way to engage a new generation and change organizational strategy to attract a younger audience. The problem is a gap in experience and knowledge for young, early-career professionals to be equipped for community leadership service.
The Hoʻohana Program aims to engage, connect, and equip the next generation of community organization leaders to create long-term sustainability in aging grassroots organizations. The program will last 18 months, with six months of training/exploration sessions followed by 12 months of a board fellowship with a local community organization. Participants will dive into the principles of Aloha and shared cultural values, intending to become cross-cultural community organizers with a strong sense of self-identity and place.
Once selected, participants will engage in once-a-month training to progressively strengthen their self-identity and deepen their understanding of the tenets of Aloha. The participants will undergo training on the following:
- The Foundations of Community
- The ALOHA Response
- Crisis management
- Bridging divided communities
- Dominant & non-dominant culture
- Indigenous intelligence
- Board of Directors basic training
Training sessions will be conducted by community members from a wide range of Hawaiʻi communities, providing participants with a diverse and broad perspective. Participants will be able to explore their cultural values, the values of Aloha learning from living in Hawaiʻi, and the commonalities between communities despite their differences.
Post-training, participants will select a community nonprofit for their board fellowship. Participants will have a non-voting role on these boards for 6-12 months while receiving mentorship from the JCCH and direct feedback from the community organization.
Along with the training, the JCCH Hoʻohana Cohort will also participate in the Go For Broke National Education Center’s (GFBNEC) National Torchbearer Convening in June. This annual meeting brings cohorts of similar programs from around the Continental U.S. for multiple days of programming. Affiliates from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and other areas will convene to discuss issues around social equity, justice, and ways to co-create a peaceful American society.
Additionally, JCCH will host one of the Continental U.S. groups in Hawaiʻi and visit one of the Continental U.S. cities annually. This allows further relationship building and a deeper understanding of each other’s culture and circumstances.
The JCCH will target an inaugural cohort of 4-6 individuals from across the State of Hawaiʻi. Desired outcomes are
- Young & capable board members
- A deeper connection to the community, and
- A network of like-minded youth with a training foundation.
The JCCH will measure the impact through surveys of both the participant, trainers, and participating partner nonprofits (for the board fellowship). Cohort alumni will be invited to attend all training and the GFBNEC National Torchbearer Convening. Connections and collaboration will deepen and become richer year over year, creating an extensive national network of changemakers. Through continued alum engagement, the JCCH will be able to track long-term program impacts.