*formerly known as the Youth CAN Program

Kizuna's Leadership Program is our premier high school leadership, community service and personal development program. We promise to create a transformative experience that will help to shape the next generation.



*formerly known as the Youth CAN Program

Now in our 10th year, Kizuna's Leadership Program is our premier high school leadership, community service and personal development program. We promise to create a transformative experience that will help to shape the next generation.




Occurring each summer, Kizuna's Leadership Program is a 10 week, Wednesday evening program designed to build well-rounded students and enhance their future success.

Our model of success is centered around concepts of identity and community. The networks, relationships and strong sense of self-identity help our students to rise above the rest.

Now in it's 11th year, our program is now the largest Japanese American leadership development program in Southern California.

Program Details


  • Union Church of Los Angeles
  • 401 E. 3rd St.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90013

Session Dates

Session 1: June 13, 2018
Session 2: June 20, 2018
Session 3: June 27, 2018
Session 4: July 3, 2018
Session 5: July 11, 2018
Retreat: July 13 - July 14, 2018**
Session 6: July 18, 2018
Session 7: July 25, 2018
Session 8: August 1, 2018
Session 9: August 8, 2018
Culmination: August 15, 2018

*Sessions take place on Wednesday evenings, 6:00 to 9:45pm.

**Please note: We will host an overnight retreat starting Friday 7/13 in the evening, through the afternoon on 7/14. Please mark your calendar for this important weekend event!


  • $195 per student
  • *Fee reductions available upon request
  • *No refunds: fees will not be returned after received.

registration Deadline

  • April 30, 2018
  • *Important Note: Registration typically closes before the stated deadline due to the program reaching capacity. Fill out your application sooner than later to guarantee a spot in our program!

Multi-Track Program

Track 1

Track 1 is the introductory track to our Leadership Program.  This track is for students who have not completed any Leadership programs in the past.

Track 1 is the beginning part of the journey for students in Leadership. Track 1 introduces basic concepts of community and identity, helping build well rounded leaders.

Track 2

Students signing up for Track 2 must have previously completed the Leadership program in the past.

Track 2 dives deeper into concepts of community, and how it contributes to our senses of identity.  Students will learn about what comprises community, how this has developed throughout Los Angeles’s history, and things they can do to advocate and support for their community’s needs.

track 3

Track 3 provides students with the confidence and foundation to be better leaders. 

Students will learn about different leadership styles, traits and qualities that leaders possess, and how to organize themselves and others better.  The goal of this track is to prepare students to engage with their peers and the community

Track 4

Track 4 focuses on supplemental life and leadership skills such as emotional intelligence and a better understanding of the cognitive process.  

Students will apply all the knowledge gained from this and previous tracks to complete a project addressing some of the needs of the Little Tokyo community.

Successful Students

Ranging from college bound, to career focuses individuals, Kizuna has a track record of successful students who have graduated from the program.

Program Highlights

In Our 11th Year

This will be the 11th year of our Leadership Program. Over the years we have perfected our formula and created a program that is both engaging and transformative for our students.

Many Students

Throughout the years, over 300 students have been trained through our Leadership Program. Joining our program is joining the next generation of community leaders.

Leadership Development

We develop valuable leadership skills including public speaking and peer-to-peer communication. Service projects also provide practical opportunities for students to exercise these skills.

Rising Above

Our students rise above. Skills and leadership learned through the program gives our students an edge as they look to their futures. Our students cite this program as a core component which has helped them develop as adults.

*Icons designed by Popcorns Arts from Flaticon"


Many students who have gone through our program and are now young adults have returned as facilitators and instructors. They believe in passing on the knowledge they learned to the next cohort of students. Making the experience at Leadership a unique and inspirational program.

As a former participant of the Leadership program, I can attest to the incredible impact it provides for high school students. It enabled me to take pride in my unique identity as a Japanese American and empowered me to find my role as a leader in the community. Now, as co-director of the Track 1 cohort, I am able to share these same values with the next generation of young leaders. I return every summer because I am truly inspired by the growth and personal development each of our students go through, as well as the lasting relationships and memories we create together.

- Megan Ono, Director, Past Counselor, & Past Participant

Kizuna has given me this wonderful opportunity to explore my future career as a high school teacher by being able to teach Japanese American high school students in Track 1, the importance of their culture, community and identity. Every year, I learn more and more about myself along with the students and it is truly a priceless experience!

- Marisa Katsuda, Counselor & Past Participant

Leadership was a fulfilling and invaluable experience for me in high school. It allowed me to direct my passion for learning about the ways in which I fit into the Japanese American community and how to apply it to hands on volunteering in Little Tokyo. Not only did I build a great network in Little Tokyo, but I was also able to see the larger scale of the Japanese American community and the potential of the next generation of Japanese Americans.

- Griffin Yamada, Past Participant

Incredible Learning

Our Leadership Program has been cited as the only program in our community covering the topics that we do. The personal growth our students gain through our program is incredible.

Have More Questions?

No problem! Just click the little help button on the bottom right of the screen to view our frequently asked questions or just ask us a question directly. We'll get back to you real quick.

Leadership is the Best

Leadership is one of the best programs has Kizuna has to offer. When we say that it's a transformative experience, we mean it. Our students grow and develop as leaders, community advocates, and good people. Join us and see for yourself!