Amy Ishiguro – President of Taiwanese Church Youth Group and Academic Decathlon Team Captain

Walnut Creek, CA

With the same kind of determination and perseverance, the next generation of Taiwanese Americans can do even greater things. The future is limitless and the next generation is capable. Expect us to succeed and we will exceed your expectations.

Who are you?

In March, I was elected by my church’s youth group to serve as president for the 2010-2011 school year. As well as being president, my junior year of high school involves taking AP classes, running cross country, and leading my school’s Academic Decathlon Team. Since I love everything I do – yes, I actually enjoy learning and running – I look forward to the challenges and experiences that each new day offers. I believe that being excited about daily activities, no matter how seemingly insignificant, makes life fulfilling.

Tell us about your organization / project, your role, and its impact?

The East Bay Formosan United Methodist Church (EBFUMC) Youth Group is comprised of Taiwanese youth in middle and high school. In addition to weekly Sunday school, putting on performances for the adults on special occasions, and volunteering at various charities, our youth group raises funds to benefit a different organization each year. Our main fundraisers are an annual summer talent show and Christmas music concert, but we conduct many smaller fundraisers throughout the year.

As president, I work with four other youths in the “Leadership Team” to generate ideas and plan activities. I lead monthly meetings so that the entire youth group can contribute their own ideas and suggestions, collaborate on planning, and vote on future activities. By coordinating activities, I hope to set a framework so that with everyone’s effort, we can turn abstract dreams into concrete reality.

Where do you find your inspiration and motivation as a student leader?

My inspiration comes from other leaders who succeed in unifying people, as well as people I personally know who keep a positive attitude everyday. I try to emulate what they do.

My motivation comes from the members of the youth group. As president, it is my duty to act as the group’s representative; I must work hard in order to not let them down.

What is your vision for the organization / project and the role that it may play in the broader community?

Each year, our youth group only continues to improve with the addition of more members and therefore more ideas and positive energy. Joining the “I Love Taiwan” missionary program has been a tradition long before I joined EBFUMC. A record number of youth from our church (almost twenty) joined the program this summer and taught English to children all over Taiwan. Two years ago, we started our annual Talent Shows and Benefit Concerts. Last year’s funds benefitted the Asian Community Mental Health Services, and this year’s funds will benefit our first youth missionary trip to Hawaii, where we will help build houses and educate others about Taiwanese culture. As we have successfully been adding more activities to our repertoire, I am confident that the youth group will continue to expand and find ways to benefit the world community. In the future I would like the youth group to initiate its own programs as well as working to benefit or donate to other organizations. On top of this, I also hope that all youth can graduate from the group with a strong sense of purpose, leadership, and community.

Why are you proud to be of Taiwanese heritage?

I am half Taiwanese and half Japanese and am second generation American. Although I have always been proud of my unique identity, I never fully understood the significance of being Taiwanese until joining my current Taiwanese church in 2008. To my pleasant surprise, I was welcomed at once by both the youth and adults. This was my first realization about the Taiwanese community: everyone is very warm and truly cares about others. I also learned that the Taiwanese are hardworking people with positive attitudes about the future. I am happy and proud to be part of this supportive community.

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Taiwanese American youth grow up and become leaders in a wide range of fields. I feel that my parents and many first generation Taiwanese Americans worked hard to come to the United States. With the same kind of determination and perseverance, the next generation of Taiwanese Americans can do even greater things. The future is limitless and the next generation is capable. Expect us to succeed and we will exceed your expectations.

Any additional information you would like to share?

I love dancing. My favorite styles of dance are ballet and jazz, which I have been dancing for five years.

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