News & Updates Spring 2018

Letter From the Executive Director

Dear <<First Name (Required)>>,

Welcome to spring! Here in DC we just celebrated the beauty of the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin, but now they are losing their petals and we are looking toward warmer months. With the change of seasons it’s time to look back on USJETAA’s activities over past three months, and we will also take a look at our successes of the past year.

One of the biggest changes for USJETAA was in the organization’s leadership. I came on as the new executive director, bringing my background in international education, marketing, and leadership with JETAAFL to the role. I replaced founding executive director Laurel Lukaszewki, whose hard work and dedication to JET alumni helped USJETAA thrive. Laurel is now continuing her work as a professional artist. We are also extremely pleased that she has joined the USJETAA board of directors so that the organization can benefit from her input and institutional knowledge.

I am looking forward to continuing USJETAA’s mission to support JET alumni across the United States. In only three months with USJETAA I’ve jumped headfirst into our programming. As part of our Leadership Program, I visited three JETAA chapters with board members Paige Cottingham-Streater and Monica Yuki. Paige and I also attended the After JET conference in Tokyo to promote USJETAA with current JETs. While we were there, we met with grant partners, representatives from the Japanese government, and JET alumni residing in Japan.

We have also wrapped up several of our grant programs that span 2017 and 2018. Among those are the Sasakawa USA/USJETAA chapter grants, the Chapter Leadership Program, and the JETAA Toolbox Webinar Series (the latter both funded by CLAIR and the Japan Foundation CGP).

Lastly, it’s been half a year since we held the JET 30 All Alumni Reunion and we are still excited about the success of that event. With more than 280 JET alumni attending and panel discussions by prominent alums, this event was the biggest gathering of JET alumni ever held in the United States. We couldn’t have done it without help from our sponsors, so again we’d like to extend a big thank you to the Japan Foundation CGP, CLAIR, the Sachiko Kuno Foundation, ANA, the JCAW Foundation, the United States-Japan FoundationHappi Enterprises, and our other sponsors (you can find a full list here).

I look forward to working with everyone this spring. Keep an eye peeled for info on our upcoming grant program with Sasakawa USA. Details will be announced next month!


Bahia Simons-Lane
USJETAA Executive Director
USJETAA relies on grant funding and donations to facilitate our programs. Each year we partner with funders to support the JET alumni community. USJETAA thanks the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, CLAIR, the Japan Foundation CGP, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA for all of their support. Below, you can read more about the programs we partnered with these organizations to hold during the past year.

Sasakawa USA/USJETAA Grants for JETAA Chapters & Subchapters

USJETAA partnered with Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (SPFUSA) to provide grants to JETAA Chapters and Subchapters across the United States from fall 2017 – spring 2018. As part of USJETAA’s mission to support the network of JETAA Chapters and alumni across the country, the SPFUSA/USJETAA grant provided a direct avenue for USJETAA to assist chapters in providing programming and outreach for their members and communities.This year we awarded six grants to five JETAA chapters. Read more about these successful projects here.

JETAA Toolbox Webinar Series

This series provides helpful information on chapter leadership to engage all officers of JET alumni chapters. Topics include information about developing membership, effective communications strategies, obtaining 501(c)(3) non-profit status, and more. Each webinar includes two or three speakers with expertise in the topic. You can view the webinars from the past two years in the JETAA Toolbox.

The series is generously supported by the Japan Foundation CGP and CLAIR.

USJETAA Leadership Program

USJETAA partnered with CLAIR and the Japan Foundation CGP to fund leadership visits to JETAA New England, JETAA Florida, JETAA Portland, and JETAA Rocky Mountain.

This program assists JETAA Chapters in their program management, governance, programming or other areas they feel additional support and feedback would be useful.

Is your chapter interested? Chapter officers can sign up here!

American JETs Micro-grant Initiative 2017-2018

USJETAA partners with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to award microgrants (grants of small amounts of funding) to current American JET Program(me) teachers to support projects in schools and communities. Take a look the projects approved for the 2017-2018 grant year.

Get to know the USJETAA Board!
Paige Cottingham-Streater is the chair of USJETAA. She served as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Mie Prefecture from 1988-89 on the JET Programme. After returning to Washington, DC, Paige founded the JET Alumni Association and served as the founding President of the Washington, DC chapter. Paige has been an active member of the JET alumni community, including her instrumental role in the establishment of USJETAA.
USJETAA is an independent, self-sustaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for and about the JETAA network and alumni in the United States. To learn more about our activities, become a registered member, or to support our efforts, please visit us at

Copyright © 2018 USJETAA, All rights reserved.
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United States Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme Alumni Association
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