TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Training Program in America

OUR LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

Our intensive five-month disability leadership and advocacy training takes place in Boston, Massachusetts. The goal of the program is to train the next generation of young Japanese people with disabilities to become stronger and more confident leaders.

Through this program, trainees not only enhance their leadership and advocacy skills but also gain new knowledge and expertise related to disability and inclusion. Trainees also improve their English language or American Sign Language proficiency.

The program uses a group model to further trainees’ leadership and advocacy training skills. However, trainees also pursue their own independent projects inspired by a question, issue, or program related to disability. As part of their projects, trainees participate in an internship with a disability-focused government or community organization.

After graduating from the program, trainees contribute to communities in disability leadership roles. They also become mentors to future program participants.

The program is part of the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership between the U.S.-Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo . The program is supported by Northrop Grumman Corporation, and implemented by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at UMass Boston, through partnership with TOMODACHI. Since the 1960s, the ICI has been a leader in disability inclusion and advocacy.

MAIN PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

The program engages trainees in a spectrum of activities:

  1. An intensive orientation to the program and life in Boston. You’ll also participate in cultural and educational activities.
  2. An internship where you’ll be matched with a local training site based on your individual interests and training needs. Examples of training sites are government agencies, non-governmental organizations, schools, research institutes, and businesses.
  3. Weekly leadership seminars where you’ll discuss your internship placement, explore experiences, and link those with the concepts of disability leadership and inclusion.
  4. English language training where you’ll improve your conversational and written skills. Deaf trainees may participate in American Sign Language training.

After graduating from the program, trainees contribute to communities in disability leadership roles. They also become mentors to future program participants.

The program is sponsored by the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership between the U.S.- Japan Council and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and Northrop Grumman, and implemented by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at UMass Boston, through partnership with TOMODACHI. Since the 1960s, the ICI has been a leader in disability inclusion and advocacy.

PROGRAM WRAP-UP

Trainees give a 15-minute presentation on their training experience in English or American Sign Language at a special award ceremony in Boston. Audience members include ICI staff, peers, internship mentors and staff, and disability leaders.

Trainees submit a final report about their training experience in English and in Japanese. The report addresses the question, issue, or problem that was the focus of their individual training (internship), what they experienced and learned, and how they will use what they learned to positively impact their community in Japan.

Trainees receive a certificate of completion at a special award ceremony. They will also serve as a mentor to future trainees and other TOMODACHI alumni.

2018 PROGRAM TIMELINE
July 27 Arrival in Boston
July 30 - August 17 Orientation to the TOMODACHI Program and life in Boston
August 20 - December 7 Individual internship, English language/American Sign Language, weekly group supervision seminars
November 16 Draft of trainee final report due
December 14 Award ceremony: final presentations and program completion
December 18 Departure for Japan

APPLICANT CRITERIA

To apply for this program, you must:

  1. Be a Japanese citizen with a disability who currently lives in Japan.
  2. Be between 18 and 35 years old, as of January, 2017.
  3. Be determined to contribute to the disability community in a leadership role.
  4. Be willing to a complete a ve-month-long disability leadership and advocacy training in Boston.
  5. Be able to identify a question, issue, or problem as the focus of your internship in Boston.
  6. Have basic English language skills (conversation, reading, and writing), or if you are Deaf, have basic English language reading and writing skills and, ideally, basic American Sign Language (ASL) skills.
  7. Be willing to become a mentor to other trainees and TOMODACHI alumni after completing the leadership training.

For those who need assistance with carrying out daily life activities and who are accepted into the program, costs for a personal care assistant will be covered up to the amount of US $1,500 per trainee for the entire training period. Trainees need to cover the rest. We will help trainees arrange personal care assistance in Boston.

CANDIDATE SELECTION

What is the selection process?

A panel of U.S. and Japanese disability experts and ICI program staff will review all valid applications and select those individuals whose applications meet the program objectives.

Candidates will be invited to participate in a Skype interview. The interview has two parts: Part 1 of the interview will be ten minutes long, conducted in Japanese, and ask about your interests and goals for the leadership training. Part 2 will be a ve- to ten-minute test of your English language / American Sign Language (ASL) skills. The panel and ICI program staff will make nal decisions after interviewing all candidates.

How do you evaluate applicants?

We are looking for applicants who can describe their personal and professional disability leadership goals, and are able to explain how this program will help them achieve these goals.

I have a question about my application. Who can I contact?

If you have any questions about the application and selection process, contact Dr. Heike Boeltzig-Brown at Heike.Boeltzig-Brown@umb.edu, or Miwa Tanabe at Miwa.Tanabe@umb.edu.

TRAINING AND LIFE IN BOSTON

What expenses are covered, and what will I have to pay for?

The program will cover:

The trainee must pay for:

Where will I live?

Trainees live in communities in or around Boston. They live with either home-stay families or in apartments, arranged by the program.

Will the program provide the accommodations that I need?

The program covers the costs for a personal care assistant up to the amount of US $1,500 per trainee for the entire training period. Trainees need to cover the rest. We will help trainees arrange personal care assistance in Boston.

Will the training be conducted in English?

Yes. We expect trainees to have a basic understanding of English language or American Sign Language (ASL).

I am uent in English / American Sign Language (ASL). Do I still need to participate in the English-language or ASL courses?

You may not need to participate in English language or ASL courses, but we make this decision case by case.

Am I responsible for nding an internship site?

No. Our program will match trainees with internship sites. We will nd a placement for each trainee that will support his or her individual interests and training goals.

Will I be able to sightsee while I am in Boston?

The training program is full-time, but there are also opportunities for local sightseeing and travelling. Trainees have weekends free, and the program coordinator can suggest trips in and around Boston, Massachusetts, and New England.

Can I go on vacation within the United States or elsewhere during the training? What about visiting my family in Japan?

Trainees should expect to stay in the United States for the entire duration of the training.

AFTER TRAINING

What happens after the training?

You will receive a certi cate of completion, and you will serve as a mentor to future trainees and other TOMODACHI alumni. Mentors give presentations in Japan about what they learned during the program. They also make themselves available via phone and Skype to talk with other young Japanese people with disabilities.

MORE INFORMATION

About the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI)

www.communityinclusion.org

About UMass Boston

www.umb.edu

About Northrop Grumman Corporation

www.northropgrumman.com

About the TOMODACHI Initiative:

www.tomodachi.org

CONTACT

Dr. Heike Boeltzig-Brown

Program Director
Heike.Boeltzig-Brown@umb.edu

Miwa Tanabe

Program Coordinator
Miwa.Tanabe@umb.edu