• Asian Avenue

Congratulations to the Newest Alumni of the Mirai Generations Leadership Program

On a hot Sunday in July, nine young professionals gathered with the Japanese American (JA) community to celebrate their participation in the 2019 Mirai Generations Leadership Program (MGLP). This signature program presented by Sakura Foundation was implemented in 2017 and encourages participants to CONNECT, INSPIRE, and ACT within the JA community. Participants learn more about themselves and each other, grow their leadership skills, engage with community leaders and learn about the JA community.

The participants also created life-long friendships and made meaningful connections to enhance their personal and professional lives. The class of 2019 was comprised of the following enthusiastic, bright, energetic and motivated individuals: Adam Estacio, Emily Freeman, Allyson Goto, Alex Kimata, Jenn Kimura, Adam Lisbon, Alyssa Noguchi, Leilani Rose and Brent Sabati.

The impact of the MGLP is best conveyed directly by its participants:

[Leilani Rose] “As a recent Denver transplant, the Mirai Generations Leadership Program was invaluable for me to get to know the local J/JA community. I learned about Denver’s rich JA history, was personally introduced to many local JA organizations -- the backbone of our community -- and got to meet 1-on-1 with inspirational JA community leaders. In addition, I am deeply grateful for the lifelong friendships I developed with each of my fellow classmates. Their support and friendship have been invaluable and I now feel a deep connection to the JA community here in Denver.”

[Adam lisbon] “As the Japanese Studies librarian at CU Boulder, I wanted a deeper connection with the Japanese American Community. The MGLP gave me the space to form many new friendships and a chance to explore how, through my work, I could help preserve the history of Japanese Americans in Colorado.”

“Thanks to MGLP, my colleagues and I were able to secure a $24,000 grant by the CU Boulder Outreach Committee to start archiving Japanese and Japanese American contributions to the University of Colorado’s history. Without the bridges that I had built to Japanese American associations and individuals through MGLP, we would never have been able to start this project.”

[Emily Freeman] “Being a part of the MGLP Class of 2019 really helped me find a voice and my place in our local J/JA community. Everyone I met through this program has offered me real support that would have taken me years to find otherwise. MGLP gave me the opportunity to learn more about who I am as an emerging leader, and the space to consider my role in the community. The support from everyone in MGLP and the community partners allowed me and my fellow class members to embark on an ongoing project to help work towards making the Cherry Blossom Festival a sustainable event. Through the MGLP, I have found a way to contribute to the community and merge my passion for sustainability. The Denver J/JA community is truly amazing and supportive and MGLP has been one of the best programs I have be a part of!”

[BRENT SABATI] “The Mirai Generations Leadership Program has deepened my perspective on what it means to be Japanese American by exposing me to new ideas, viewpoints, and experiences of our culture. This program breaks inter-generational boundaries and gives us expedited paths to becoming active participants and leaders not only in the JA & API communities, but also in our city and careers. Even though the program is over, my work in our community is just beginning. I’m excited to implement the lessons in leadership that I’ve learned and see what new opportunities await.”

Sakura Foundation will present a free Informational Open House on Thursday, Nov. 7 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the Tamai Tower Penthouse at Sakura Square, 1255 19th Street, in downtown Denver with complimentary parking.

Potential candidates, referring community members and anyone wishing to learn more about the MGLP are welcome and encouraged to attend. To RSVP, go to EventBrite.com and search MGLP.


Applications for the MGLP Class of 2020 will be available in November 2019 at SakuraFoundation.org. Questions can be emailed to StaceyS@SakuraFoundation.org.

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