|Volume 1, Number 1 - November 9, 2009
Celebrates 75th Anniversary!
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Nov. 14 - 15. 2009
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Nov. 21 - 22. 2009
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Feb. 5-7, 2010
Midwest, Ohio River Valley, Southeast
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Long Beach, CA
Feb. 13-14, 2010
Hilton Long Beach
Feb. 20-21, 2010
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talks about the
future of JSA in
the digital age
Happy Birthday JSA
VIOTTI: Seventy-five years ago
today -- Nov. 9, 1934 -- a group of high school students from the
Montezuma Mountain School for Boys and Prof. E.A. Rogers set out to
"save democracy" by launching the Junior Statesmen of America (read
about JSA history). From
that humble beginning, we now have a program where nearly 15,000 high
school students a year participate in JSA
school-year and summer programs, representing all 50 states and more
than 30 countries. Through student-run political conventions and
service projects across the country, these young leaders carry the
legacy of JSA's founders by promoting active citizenship and making our
As the chief executive of the Junior Statesmen Foundation, I have one of the best jobs
in the world. Every day I get to work with America's brightest young leaders. They're innovative
and ambitious. They want to make a positive difference in the world.
Our mission to prepare young people to be active and informed citizens for life is as important as
ever. Our democracy depends on it. The fact that 71 percent of American adults surveyed failed the National
Civic Literacy Board's basic civic knowledge test in 2008 suggests that there is much work to be done.
JSA will continue to evolve with the changing times to provide our students with the knowledge and skills to tackle
the challenges facing our country today. We've already added new programs on energy, the environment,
national security, and social media.
We live in an increasingly global society, so we're launching the new JSA Diplomat program to give our
JSA leaders an experience in working with leaders from other countries (this year we'll be in Beijing, China
-- see this story -- and we plan to extend this program to other countries).
We're more focused on helping young people become active citizens in their communities even while they are in
high school. Toward that end, we're working with YMCA Youth and Government and other civic education groups on a
Youth Summit in California to give young people a voice in the issues that concern them.
We're also living in a new "participation age," where digital communications provide rich opportunities for
citizen engagement. Facebook, Twitter and text messaging aren't just static communication tools. They are an
integral part of our student's daily lives.
JSA has a great contribution to make in demonstrating how digital communications can be used for open, honest,
reasoned discussion and debate. Over the course of 2010, we will be investing in our web site, JSA.org,
in order to make it the forum of choice for youth across America to engage each other on the issues of the day.
These are exciting times for our country and for JSA. We hope you'll continue to support us on our grand
effort to make democracy work. Our most valuable asset has always been our people -- including you.
Our dedicated alumni and friends who volunteer their time, talent and treasure have been the foundation of JSA for
75 years. We hope you will reconnect with us, attend JSA events, and share in the excitement we feel here about
I hope you enjoy the first edition of our new Alumni Newsletter; going forward, we will publish it on-line the
first Tuesday of every month (we made the Monday exception in honor of Prof. Roger's historic meeting).
Please write us back with any news, ideas, comments or questions. You can call or stop by the office at any time.
On behalf of JSA, I thank you for your dedication to JSA and look forward to hearing from you. Read
Prosser is an alum
and the daughter of
Director Richard Prosser
and Alumni Relations
Director, Karen Prosser
to the Prossers
by Amy Prosser at the 75th Anniversary Brunch:
I don't know
why I'm so nervous up here. I've probably sat on the laps of half the
people in this room.
I love when people ask me what my parents do for a living. "They're
educators," I proudly say. "They teach young people about democracy."
Then I tend to wax poetic about how non-partisan and diverse their
organization is. And what a difference it makes in the world by
nurturing future leaders. And then I always end by saying that JSA has
been my parents' life work. And that I am more proud of them for doing
this work than of anything else they have ever done.
Everything my brother, Eddie, and I know about working hard and
sacrificing oneself for a greater good, we learned from our
hardworking, dedicated parents. They not only taught us the little,
essential things - like how to collate and mimeograph - but the big
ideas, too. That democracy works, that young people matter, and that
every one of us can and should make a difference in the world.
In short, they modeled hope in a world that too often feels hopeless.
For that, my brother and I and countless young people, past and
present, are thoroughly grateful. Thank you, Mom and Dad. And
congratulations on your life's work. You did good.
Email Jeff Dunn
at email@example.com if
you would like
to be the subject
of a future JSA
Profile: Andy Green
JEFF DUNN: Each month, JSA Now will feature a profile of a JSA alum who continues
to look to JSA for personal and professional inspiration. This
month's featured alum is Andy Green, former Northern California
Governor (Class of 1995). Andy reconnected with JSA's earlier this
year upon his return from China where he spent the past two years as a
Corporate and Capital Markets Associate. Andy used his JSA
connections to land a position as a Legislative Assistant to Senator
Jeff Markley (D-OR). I met Andy for lunch on a beautiful Fall day on
JSA Alumni Profile of the Month: Andy Green
JSA LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
JSA Chapter: Lowell High School of San Francisco (Class of 1995); Governor, Northern California JSA (1994-1995);
Lieutenant Governor, Northern California JSA (1993-1994); National Speakers Program Director, Junior Statesmen Foundation Staff (1997-2002).
CURRENT RESIDENCE, JOB AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Lives in Washington, D.C. Legislative
assistant to U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Lead contact on issues related to Social Security, taxes, financial services, elections and animal rights.
My current position as a legislative assistant to a senator who has the ability to impact two of the most important public
policy issues of our time - taxes and financial services. I feel that I have the ability to positively contribute to the reforms that are necessary
in the financial services sector. I also enjoy working on Capitol Hill. Life on the Hill is like JSA for adults. I am able to work and fraternize with people with whom I share a passion for government and politics.
FAVORITE JSA MEMORY
It is hard to pick because I have so many. I really enjoyed traveling across the state of California to various mini-cons and one-day conferences during my campaign for NorCal Governor. But nothing can beat my first speech as Northern California Governor at my first Fall State Convention looking out a crowd of 1,600 enthusiastic fellow JSAers. That is where I felt that all my hard campaign work had really paid off.
HOW HAS YOUR JSA EXPERIENCE BENEFITTED YOU THE MOST?
The greatest benefit to my JSA experience would have to be the fact that I met my fiancÚ (Emily Gee) through JSA. But the other benefits are numerous. I have served in numerous leadership positions in my adult life, but nothing could beat as my time spent in JSA. JSA helped provide me the basic political and communication skills that I use everyday. I learned the importance of reading newspapers to ensure that I am informed enough to engage in important policy discussions and debates. I learned the important communication skills - speech writing, public speaking, debate preparation - that I would need to advocate a particular position or point-of-view.
HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED WITH JSA?
I would say that more than 50 percent of my closest friends are friends that I made through JSA. I worked in China for a while and returned earlier this year with the hope of finding a job in D.C. A JSA friend was instrumental in helping me connect with Sen. Merkley's office. I look forward to catching up with JSA alum in the D.C. area as well.
alumni from Karen Prosser
Are you an alum?
in Your Updates
KAREN PROSSER: Lots of news involving former governors from the 1990s:
Kendee Yamaguchi, Pacific Northwest governor (1994-95), is taking on a new role in government. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed her to the state Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. Yamaguchi is a third-generation Japanese American born and raised in Washington. "I am confident Kendee's broad range of experience will serve this commission well," Gregoire said. "She is an emerging leader who brings a solid record of legislative, legal, management and communications experience to the position." Yamaguchi said, "I am honored to be selected to serve the people of Washington. Our communities thrive when the doors of opportunity are open for all." Yamaguchi was a director in the Office of Management and Administration at the White House. Prior to this position, she worked in the Office of Public Liaison on the signing of the executive order establishing the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has experience working as a television executive and a staff member in the Legislature. More recently, she worked as an attorney in private practice. Yamaguchi earned a bachelor's degree in political science and public communications with a minor in international affairs from American University. Yamaguchi also earned a juris doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law. Congratulations Kendee Yamaguchi!
Amanda Hang Tao, Southern California JSA Governor 1994-95, was married on March 28, to Stephen Gordon, Southern California JSA Governor, 1993-94. Vows were exchanged in a lovely ceremony in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Marina Del Rey. The couple combined their Chinese and Jewish heritage in a ceremony honoring both. Amanda and Steve are Harvard graduates, but their college/university affiliations wouldn't fit on the back window of an SUV-Princeton, Harvard, Yale and on and on. They are the best educated couple in our history! Congrats Amanda and Steve!
Happy Birthday Jay Maguire (JSA GU Summer School Grad 1987, Junior Statesmen Summer staff member for many years in Texas and Washington, D.C.)! He's turning 40 in a few days and feeling a little grumpy about it. Rumor has it that there is a special Texas lady in Jay's life who is helping him get through the trauma! Jay is a lobbyist.
Right in the midst of the action: Amy Heir Demske, an alumna of the Watchung Hills, N.J. JSA Chapter (Amy attended the first East Coast conference at Princeton in 1984, where she was elected JSA Mayor) is a health care lobbyist in Washington, where she represents hospitals, health care providers and device manufacturers. She has been in and out of state and federal government over the years before going "private" in 1997. Amy got married in 2000 and she has two young children - Michael (4) and Megan (3) who keep her very busy. Besides work and family, Amy is a court-appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system.
- Amiee Albertson Alden (SoCal leader from Santa Barbara who attended Stanford and Georgetown Summer schools and worked as a Summer School staff member many times) is a new mommy. Eric Godfrey Alden was born on to Amiee and John Alden (an attorney). Amiee and John were married in Pacific Grove, Calif. in May 2007. Eric attended the 75th JSA Anniversary party in San Francisco with his mommy and was quite the little gentleman. Amiee is enjoying maternity leave from the San Francisco mayor's office, where she has worked for five years. We have a spot for you; baby Eric, in the JSA Summer School Class of 2024.
- Shayna Mittler von Hoften welcomed baby boy No. 2 in July, 2009. Shayna is a former JSA Northern California leader, JSA Georgetown Summer School alum who practices law in San Francisco. Her husband, Derek, is also an attorney.
If you'd like to share an update for the next issue of Karen's Korner,
send your news to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
anniversary in style with
alumni, staff and friends
Feted at Top of the Mark
BY DAVE COLE:
More than 120 people gathered at the historic Top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco one Saturday morning in mid-October to salute the dedication of Karen and Richard Prosser.
The alumni and friends of Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) marveled not only on the beauty of the city by the bay, but also on the lifes' work of the Prossers.
The husband-and-wife team who grew JSA from fewer than 500 high school students at chapters at a couple-dozen schools in California to a group of 10,500 students at 450 high schools in 35 states were feted by people touched not only by JSA but by the Prossers themselves.
Following a sumptuous buffet that helped celebrate the 75th anniversary of JSA, stories told by alumni and colleagues of the Prossers traced their belief in the notion that teaching high school students the meaning of democracy would benefit our country in the long run and that college-level political science, public speaking and debate could be taught to high school students.
Speakers included Junior Statesmen Foundation Chief Executive David Viotti, the group's executive director, Jeff Harris, and members of the foundation's board of directors, including President Ted Green and Treasurer Alex Evans.
Alumni of the organization, including the former White House press secretary Mike McCurry and the former U.S. attorney general Edwin Meese, hailed the Prossers for their hard work.
The speakers told of how in 1969 Richard, then a college student, was recruited to run a single summer school of 30 students on one campus and that how that school made enough money to give the foundation's leaders hope that the organization could survive. They told of how Karen joined the staff in order to help expand the summer school program and how she and Richard grew it into a program that had five sessions on four campuses that served more than 1000 students last summer.
Amy Prosser, the adult daughter of Karen and Richard, spoke movingly of her parents.
"I love when people ask me what my parents do for a living," said Amy.
"They're educators, I proudly say. They teach young people about democracy. Then I tend to wax poetic about how non-partisan and diverse their organization is. And what a difference it makes in the world by nurturing future leaders. And then I always end by saying that JSA has been my parents' life work. And that I am more proud of them for doing this work than of anything else they have ever done."
Amy spoke of her brother Edward, saying that everything they "know about working hard and sacrificing oneself for a greater good, we learned from our hardworking, dedicated parents. They not only taught us the little, essential things - like how to collate and mimeograph - but the big ideas, too. That democracy works, that young people matter, and that every one of us can and should make a difference in the world."
In short, Amy said, Karen and Richard Prosser "modeled hope in a world that too often feels hopeless. For that, my brother and I and countless young people, past and present, are thoroughly grateful."
Dan Lieberman, another JSA alum, offered up a California State Senate proclamation praising the 40 years of the Prossers' service to JSA.
An alumni and student debate on the abolition of the ballot-initiative process in the state of California followed the Prosser event. Alumni debaters included Lenny Mendonca, Alex Evans, Ted Green and Marc Franklin, as well as a number of alumni speaking from the floor. Student debaters included Rachel Sklar of Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, and Christian Fong of Franklin High School of Elk Grove, Calif. Jessica Du, a senior also from Bishop O'Dowd and governor of the Northern California Junior State, was the moderator.
The day was capped off by a panel discussion led by Richard Prosser on the history of JSA. Speakers included Meese, McCurry and Karen Prosser.
The event raised $73,000 for the Junior State and the foundation.
month's newsletter by: Dave
Viotti, Elliott Nguyen, Jeff Dunn, Alanna Lee, Karen Prosser, David
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