Alumni Leadership Board

What is the Kansha Alumni Leadership Board (ALB)?

The Alumni Leadership Board is an initiative of the Kansha Project that provides an opportunity for meaningful and sustained engagement for Kansha Project participants after they have completed the program. The board will be comprised of former Kansha Project participants. ALB members will receive skills and content training and participate in a strategic planning process for the Kansha Project in order to shape and implement their vision of the program’s future. The Kansha ALB will be comprised of alumni with a high commitment level who can attend monthly planning meetings at the JACL Chicago office.

Now in its third year (2017-2018), the ALB aims to expand its programming beyond the annual Kansha Project trip. Additional ALB programming will be determined by members of Kansha Core ALB. Potential programs may include a Kansha Service Project and a community curriculum.

Download the Alumni Leadership Board Info Sheet here.

What are the goals of the ALB?

The goal of the Alumni Leadership Board is to ensure the future sustainability of the Kansha Project by providing a structure for young people to move from one-time program recipients to active partners in shaping the future of this program.

Some initial objectives for the ALB include:

  • Developing a shared, youth-driven vision for the future of the Kansha Project and actively working towards that vision
  • Engaging Kansha Project alumni in planning and facilitating the program
  • Creating a fundraising strategy and plan that aims to diversify and sustain Kansha Project’s funding
  • Keeping Kansha Project alumni connected and engaged with each other and to the program
  • Expanding the program to engage the Chicago community

Why should I get involved?

  • Re-engage with and shape the future of the Kansha Project.
  • Reconnect with participants from your year and meet alumni from other program years.
  • Enhance your knowledge of the incarceration experience.
  • Gain valuable facilitation, project management, program planning, and leadership skills.
  • Get connected to and involved with JACL Chicago and the Chicago Japanese American community.

What are the responsibilities/expectations and time commitment of joining the ALB?

As a member of the ALB, you will be part of a group that will plan and implement the Kansha Project in 2017-2018. Therefore, we ask that you commit to being a part of the ALB at least through September 2018 (see key dates below.) Because the Kansha Alumni Board is a youth-driven program, we need a few continuing ALB members from year to year. Though it is not required, please consider if you can stay involved with ALB beyond the 2017-2018 term upon applying.

Your exact responsibilities will vary and will be decided once the ALB is formed and determines the full scope of its work (including additional programs). The ALB program component you will be working on throughout the year will be determined as a board. There will be other opportunities for former Kansha ALB members and Kansha Alumni to get involved without the full monthly in-person meeting commitment.

What is the difference between the Kansha Alumni Leadership Board and the Kansha Volunteers?

After the first year of ALB, we learned that more frequent in-person meetings are beneficial and necessary in order to plan the Kansha Project so that all members have full accountability and knowledge of the planning process. To increase productivity and communication, the Kansha ALB was formed. Board members must be able to attend monthly meetings in-person at the JACL Chicago office. Kansha Volunteers will still have the opportunity to provide input and contribute to the program in a variety of ways based on your interests, skills, and capacity. Some ideas for potential remote tasks are below and specific tasks will be communicated once the ALB is formed:

  • Attend Culmination
  • Share application to networks and recruit applicants
  • Maintain the Kansha Project social media pages
  • Create marketing materials (develop/maintain webpage/website, flyer content, marketing plan, e-blasts)
  • Grant-writing (research, writing, editing)
  • Develop fundraising strategies
  • Background research for additional program components

Will I get to go to Little Tokyo and Manzanar again?

Right now, the plan is to have two or three ALB members facilitate the program sessions and serve as chaperones during the 2018 Kansha Project. The previous year’s chaperones will mentor the chaperones for the following year, to ensure program consistently and continuity.

What will I be working on?

Your exact tasks and workload will be determined collectively by Kansha ALB once it is formed. In addition to implementing the 2018 Kansha Project, the ALB will expand its programming beyond the annual Kansha Project trip. These components will be determined by the Kansha ALB– we want to hear your ideas! Potential additional components may include a Kansha Service Project and a community curriculum. Kansha ALB will be able to shape the structure and goals.

I don’t live in Chicago. Can I still be involved?

Members of the Kansha ALB members must be able to attend monthly meetings in-person. However, there will still be plenty of opportunities to participate as a volunteer remotely or less frequently than monthly meetings. These tasks will be determined and communicated once the Kansha Board is formed.