JoAnne Harada, director
visit us on facebook at Youth in Action Colorado.
Founded in 2000, the Youth In Action program includes weekly Japanese language and culture study, community service, volunteer work, and fundraising activities. Students commit to 15 or more hours of study and service a month.
Culminating this 18-month program is a month-long cultural exchange trip to Japan in the
summer. Through this experience, students will have the opportunity
to discover themselves in a place that is unfamiliar to them, develop
self-awareness and self-esteem in a manner that cannot be duplicated. Students
also learn the ability to confront social challenges outside of their comfort
zones and deal with problems head-on. Also, Youth In Action students must learn
to live in their host families’ households, and this increases the value they
place on their own home and family life. Traveling to Japan in the month of June allows the
group to participate in school visits – a significant component of the Youth In
Action program. YIA students spend 10-12 days in schools – elementary, middle,
high school and colleges. Not only do the YIA students benefit from experiencing
the Japanese education system but on a typical day, YIA students teach 3-4 English
classes at the schools, providing each Japanese student the unique opportunity
to interact and learn English from an American youth close to their own
The Youth in Action program builds the integrity and character of today’s
youth helping them to become responsible members of society by building
relationships with each other and their community while creating strong work
ethics. The youth involved become more aware about themselves and their world by studying world cultures, through interactions within their communities and through the first-hand experience of traveling to another country for a cultural exchange trip. Our month-long exchange trip includes home stays in Colorado’s sister state of Yamagata and in the southern city of Kumamoto, Japan as well as local school visits where we learn about Japanese culture and share ours. A portion of the trip will include staying and sightseeing in the historical cities of Kyoto and Hiroshima.