Hi, I would like to introduce myself to you all. My name is Susan Straight and I am currently a NPOP fellow with the JUCEE (Japan/United States Community Education and exchange) program, working with BrainHumanity on a proposal to the Ministry of Education for including service learning in their school reform efforts. Back in the United States, I am the Director of the Center for Service Learning Opportunities in Education, an NPO working on school reform using service learning in the states of New Mexico and Arizona. We have about 16,000 students doing community service as part of their school work, supported by about 1,000 teachers and 500 NPO`s.
I applied for the JUCEE program because I am very interested in educational issues in other countries of the world, to gain new ideas to take back to the United States and to connect with others working on similar issues to those I work on at home. My placement with BrainHumanity has been particularly collaborative, since I have been working with a team of 7 university students to prepare the proposal to the Ministry of Education. We have the opportunity to brainstorm together and then each of us are preparing drafts for different parts of the proposal. I have found it really energizing to work with the university students, they are so committed to young people and their educational problems, are willing to work hard on the proposal and other projects for youth out of school and are enthusiastic about life. I have found them very inspiring!
Kondo san of the BrainHumanity staff has been the glue to make it all work. Without her keeping us all on track and her tireless willingness to translate English to Japanese and back again to English, there would be no way for us all to work together as a team. BrainHumanity is really a very creative and committed organization and it has been a priviledge to be here with them in Japan for this month.