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Youth Address World Issues at Our World, Our Future

The Shinnyo-en Foundation is a long-term supporter of the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), and we are very proud to be the 2012 National Service-Learning Conference® (NSLC) World Sponsor.  On January 20, 2012, the Shinnyo-en Foundation welcomed NYLC’s CEO, Kelita Svoboda Bak and hosted an open house with a small group of strong supporters of youth service-learning and volunteering.  Ms. Bak described the “three pillars” of NYLC as follows; youth leadership development, educator support, and advancing the field of service-learning.  In addition to the NYLC’s most featured NSLC, Ms. Bak explained how those three focus areas are promoted through other leading programs of NYLC such as Project Ignition, National Youth Leadership Training, Generator School Network and NYLC Youth Advisory Council.  In response to a question posed by a member of the audience, Ms. Bak shared her view on how she defines service-learning.  In her view, service-learning is a vehicle or means to solve or achieve something important and significant in the community or society such as academic achievement gap, social/economic inequity, and health and safety issues.  At the conclusion of Ms. Bak’s presentation, audience walked away with a renewed sense of enthusiasm; commitment to advance the field and an affirmation that youth can make considerable contributions to the community and the world through service-learning.  Please visit to learn more about Ms. Kelita Svoboda Bak and the NYLC’s programs.

In 2012, the NYLC and Youthrive are hosting an international audience of an estimated 1,200 educators and 1,000 young people for The 23rd Annual National Service-Learning Conference® and Youthrive PeaceJam Leadership Conference, Our World, Our Future. This singular event will take place on April 11-14, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

At the conference, the President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi are two of the prominent speakers, among many other noted national experts and leaders.  Attendees will participate in three days of plenary and thought leader sessions, showcases and workshops.  They will also address local needs, both on-site and off-site, through service projects that range from tree-planting, to eyeglass restoration, to home and church renovation.

This year, the Shinnyo-en Foundation is sponsoring three workshops, all of which will feature the leadership of high school students contributing to service.  The following are the Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsored workshops, and we would like to encourage you to attend.

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 13

“Equity and Community Engagement through the Heart of Service”

Presented by Nan Peterson, Scott Flemming, Lisa Sackreiter, and a high school Service Board from The Blake School, Minneapolis, MN


The presenters encourage you to join them and learn how The Blake School addresses issues of service learning, community engagement, equity and peace.  Please add to the richness of the discussions.  How can service learning combine synergistically with pluralism, Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender issues and peace initiatives?  How can community engagement and equity develop personal identity and personal transformation?  How can we best consider local and global service?  How can the Student Service Board and Promising Practice: Paths of Service and Peace encourage student leadership?

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13

“Interfaith Young Adult Enlightenment and Empowerment 101”

Presented by Sande Hart and three Youth Leadership Board members from Interfaith Youth Council of Orange County, CA


Four youth leaders from the Interfaith Youth Council of Orange County, California will present and explain the methods, tools and skills used to effectively select, plan and execute programs and events that promote respect, understanding and appreciation for the integrity of each other’s beliefs, cultures and traditions through interfaith dialogue, education and community service activities.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13

“Three Dimensions of Peace-Building in Summer Programming”

Presented by Leif Erickson, Alicia Gregory, and a high school youth leader from Youth Community Service (YCS), Palo Alto, CA


The Shinnyo-en Foundation sponsored Youth Community Service (YCS)  Summer of Service program leaders offer practical advice and tools to demonstrate service-learning and peace-building experiences for middle and high school youth in a community-based summer program.  The workshop will highlight three dimensions of student experience – Encounter, Connectedness and Reflection – that actualize the Shinnyo-en Foundation’s Six Billion Paths to Peace initiative.  Students in the summer day camp program come together from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds, and develop skills to go on to help lead school-based service-learning programs during the school year.

The Shinnyo-en Foundation believes, as you do, in the power of young people.  A maximum of ten Shinnyo-en Youth Association members will be invited to attend this year’s National Service-Learning Conference.  With their passion, creativity and innovation, young people can address world issues while strengthening academic and learning outcomes through service-learning.  This event is the largest annual gathering of youth and practitioners, foundation and non-profit leaders, corporate and government officials, and advocates who join together to showcase what they have accomplished in their schools and communities, share best practices, and enrichment through professional development opportunities.

We are pleased to announce that Reverend Emiko Tsunozaki from the Shinnyo-en New York temple will be a panelist for the “Women of Leadership” panel at this year’s NSLC with the following female leaders; Naomi Tutu, Nan Peterson, Pamela Toole and Kate Cumbo.  Pajnucci Vue, a high school senior and a member of NYLC’s Board of Directors, will facilitate the panel from 9 to 10:30 AM on April 12.  Reverend Tsunozaki has been serving as clergy, Dharma Teacher, and spiritual guide in the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order since 2004.  She was ordained in 1999 and holds the priestly rank of Dai Risshi (High Vinaya Master).  Before becoming a Shinnyo-en clergy, she was a school teacher and actress. Her roles as clergy have included public relations and spiritual guidance, as well as propagation outreach throughout the east coast of the United States and Hawaii.  Reverend Tsunozaki was born and raised in Japan, and she studied and worked in Hawaii for most of her life.  She tries to make the most of her multicultural experiences through serving at the Shinnyo-en New York temple and wherever the outreach and service efforts of Shinnyo-en may take her.

The National Service-Learning Conference and Youthrive PeaceJam Leadership Conference embeds their belief in youth leadership in action, authentically engaging hundreds of young people as presenters, planning committee members, emcees and volunteers.  The dynamic play between energy and enthusiasm brought by youth and the wisdom brought by leaders in the field distinguishes the unique opportunities afforded by the Conference.