Youth in Action Colorado currently has active groups in Denver and in Louisville. Founded in 2000, Youth In Action includes weekly Japanese language and culture study, community service, volunteer work, and fundraising activities. Students commit to 30 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, 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


While I was in Japan I was able to participate in two days of community service in areas of Miyagi prefecture that were devastated by the 2011 tsunami. During the first day I was
able to tour some of the destruction in a small town called Minamisanrikucho on
our way to the kindergarten. Some of the kids at the kindergarten lost their
older siblings when the elementary school was hit by the tsunami and this small
part of Japan had not received much notice compared to some of the bigger towns
devastated by the tsunami. We were one of the first people to come and spend
time with these kids who had gone through such a tragedy. It was such a unique
experience to go from such somber feelings to the joy of spending time with the
kids, who I knew would never forget our visit as I will never forget
 The second day is what completely changed my perspective in terms of community
service. On the second day, we traveled to Sendai in Miyagi prefecture and rode
bicycles to where we would be working. Our main goal was to prepare an area of
land that had been hit by the tsunami. The land was full of rubble and we had to
make it arable again so it could be used as a garden.
This was an amazing experience because we worked with a man from Canada
and a man from Mexico so it seemed like we were representing the entire
continent of North America!

– Jack   2012 Youth In Action student