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The Uchina Youth Increasing the Peace (U.Y.I.P.) Program

Dearest Friends and Mentors,

I need your help in supporting a youth program that I started. As many of you already know, I have just begun a youth outreach program for Okinawan Americans which has always been a dream of mine. We have been very successful in Okinawa but right now I find that I need the contribution of my friends and mentors. We are seeking funding from the Okinawan government for this is a non-profit program put together by volunteering students.   For my friends and mentors unfamiliar with the details of the program, following is the program information which will soon be included in the program brochure. Thanks a million for all of your support and time. I really do appreciate it.

Love, Moe
moe_oki (at) hotmail.com

Mission:

The Uchina Youth Increasing the Peace Program (U.Y.I.P.) is a youth-outreach program that bridges Okinawan youth in Okinawa and the United States. U.Y.I.P. focuses on mentorship and education as alternative means away from the violence often encountered by young people. In this process, the program brings Okinawan youth together across international boundaries. Furthermore, U.Y.I.P. creates a stage for students to build communication regarding their experiences as Okinawans around the world. Henceforth. the purpose of U.Y.I.P. is to educate, not discriminate; to unite, not separate; to empower, not silence the youth.

Background:

U.Y.I.P. was first organized in 1997 with the idea to bridge Okinawan descendants from around the United States. Given that many Okinawan Americans grow up in a cross-fire of identities, much of the confusion that results is often reinforced through experiences of discrimination. However, it is often difficult to find a supportive network specifically for Okinawan descendants. As a result, many resort to violence after not being able to find a positive and secure channel to turn to. Recognizing this societal pattern in our community, a small group of Okinawan American students came together to build a supportive network. From these ideas and motives, U.Y.I.P. developed its constructive, planning stage with 1999. It has spread across from the United States to grab the interest of youth in Okinawa. Now, U.Y.I.P.'s Planning Committee encompasses over thirty people bridging across Florida to Okinawa. In expanding into many Okinawan communities around the world, U.Y.I.P. hopes next to include the community of Latin America.

Youth Forum 2000:

U.Y.I.P. will bring together youth from these communities in its first pilot project, the Youth Forum of 2000. The Program will gather Okinawan descendants from Okinawa, and the United States, for a conference on July 14th and 15th in Okinawa. Students will be given the opportunity to explore together how aspects such as history, culture, society, and politics affect them in their communities. They will have a chance to learn from each other about common identities while sharing and celebrating their unique difference from their homelands. In this way, they will become primary actors in bridging cultures and nations represented at this Youth Forum through their exchange of knowledge and experiences. Moreover, the Youth Forum 2000 serves to give the youth an opportunity to empower themselves by integrating and learning from the many peoples of Okinawa.

Long-term Goals:

Beginning with this pilot project, U.Y.I.P. is a long-term program which hopes to spread and grow to include Okinawan youth from a multicultural spectrum of communities. Similar to the Youth Form of 2000, bi-annual events will be held alternately in the United States and Okinawa. Young people are the key organizers in these events and different groups of students rotate in over time. Moreover, U.Y.I.P. works to build a long-term mentorship structure based on education among Okinawan youth around the world.

(U.Y.I.P. is a non-profit program organized by the hard, volunteer work of Okinawan youth in Okinawa and the United States. U.Y.I.P. appreciates any moral, active, or financial support.)

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