The Filipino Channel Hosts NaFFAA Youth Ambassadors in an Afternoon of Informal Learning

  • The Filipino Channel Hosts NaFFAA Youth Ambassadors in an Afternoon of Informal Learning
  • The 12 youth leaders are part of the organization’s Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Ambassadors Program.

TFC hosted the National Federation of Filipino American Associations’ (NaFFAA) visiting youth ambassadors when the latter visited the Daly City headquarters recently for an afternoon session on professional development and mentorship.

According to NaFFAA Executive Director Jason Tengco, the 12 youth leaders are part of the organization’s Empowering Pilipino Youth through Collaboration (EPYC) Ambassadors Program. “They come from different regions all over the United States like Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Washington state, and others. They’re here (in the Bay Area) for the leadership summit.”  

The EPYC Program aims to develop and engage the nearly one million Filipino American youth in the United States around the three main areas of: (1) building the community’s leadership pipeline; (2) increasing civic engagement; and (3) strengthening local advocacy initiatives.

The youth leaders also did several site visits to companies like Google, and participated in strategic planning sessions focused on professional development.

For the round-table session at TFC, BA Executive Producer Troy Espera, TFCU Program Director Romeo Marquez, and Adobo Nation Host and Producer Ginger Conejero sat in with NaFFAA’s youth ambassadors to share their professional journeys and to impart some life lessons.

The youth leaders were all fired-up after more than an hour of inspirational talk. Conejero observed that “communities are embracing diversity more. This is such a promising time and we should not lose sight of that despite challenges. We are representative of what America’s future looks like.”

Joseph Malasa of Charlottesville, Virginia, and a junior at University of Virginia, echoed the same thought when he admitted “it really is a great time for Filipino Americans because when I was younger I was kind of embarrassed about the things that made my parents unique. But now, entering adulthood, I’m going to celebrate myself, celebrate my culture.”

Espera emphasized the importance of finding a mentor. “Now that you are starting your careers, find that special someone who can be really honest with you about the work that you’re putting out and take their advice to heart.”

Marijo Manaois, a senior at University of Washington, conveyed that “It’s really engaging to interact with those seasoned individuals, excelling in their fields. As youth trying to emerge and trying to create the pathways for our own, hearing these words of advice is really empowering.”

Marquez’ message likewise resonated with the group when imparted, “You guys are here as messengers to reach out to the community. What we can do is drop a light, plant that seed, and we hope that people like yourselves can let that ripple to impact the greater community.”

UCLA sophomore Justin Suarez was grateful for the afternoon session at TFC when he said that “This helps us understand how we, as Filipino Americans in today’s world, can work together with our elders, our peers, and our community so we can build ourselves up and promote that on a national level.”

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