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Success Stories

Raising Leaders Winter 2021

Raising Leaders

During the winter holidays Raising Leaders would invite families to come enjoy a holiday feast at the adult school. This winter we were all dealing with the pandemic forcing indoor activities to be suspended. Raising Leaders partnered with several entities in the community to put together packages of essential goods for families this winter. Volunteers helped to stuff the bags with donated items such as blankets, cleaning supplies and a few kitchen staples. 

We are thankful for the connection and support Raising Leaders provides for the participants in the program!


Student Success Story - 

Maya Fujita

Mayu Fujita,  a student in ESL and  Vocational ESL, Fast Track to Employment (2013-2014)

 My name is Mayu Fujita. I came from Japan to the United States in September 2013. The reason why I came here is marriage. This is my first time to live in a foreign country.  Since I came in this country, I have joined the ESL class in Hayward. (At the Hayward Adult School)  I got to know about VESL (Vocational English as Second Language) after couple months. This class is the course to support the people who want to get a job.

My future dream is to be a florist. I've learned how to arrange the flower (especially Ikebana-Japanese traditional flower arrangement) in my country for 5 years. However when I thought about working in this industry in America, I had no knowledge and any information. In the VESL Fast Track to Employment class, we can learn about our job by getting some information from teacher showing all the data on the Internet and also her own prospection and advise. You will see how much the job is needed in the United States nowadays and how much money they get you paid, and also listen to the real voices of the people actually working in the industry on the Internet. 


                                             To look for a florist job, I also went to every store and asked if they were hiring. However, I couldn't find the right one for me. If I go to big city I could find a job, but this was not practical because I was still new and even didn't have driving license. 

At the same time, I decided to find something different kind of job to make our living. At the time, I found the Japanese restaurant's job offer on the Internet.  By the time I took the interview, Julie taught me how to make resume and get an interview with proper behavior and words. She gave me an encouragement and lot of push. For the interview, I made a list of the question that might be asked and get my answer for each question. We practiced the conversation in class as well. 

The day of the interview came, I applied for kitchen staff. (The reason why was I wouldn’t have to talk to customers. I was afraid of talking to people in English....) The interview went well. However they asked me to work as server not a kitchen because they were actually looking for server as well. It took some courage for me to accept the offer, but I said yes after all.  After I started to work, i met a lot of friendly and nice co-workers. They taught me how to take an order and deal with customers, answer the phone, how to use the register and so on. Even it took time for me to learn those thing, they had patience and were willing to teach me new things. 

During those days I met a nice Japanese florist in this area who does her own business though my Japanese friend. I asked the florist to accept me to be a trainee. She accepted me and whenever she took an order of wedding, banqueting or even funeral, I went to her place to help and learn something new. I file those notes and pictures every single time. My teacher always says the more you get an experience the more you will get a better skill.  I'm still on the way thinking about my future as a florist and learning skills. But I will always keep learning and continue to ask for myself if me and my family are happy with what I'm doing.

Thanks to all the people who support me, I was able to take these small beginning steps in the big process. Especially Julie's class meant so much to me. Her class was very practical and she pushed me with a big encouragement. In the future, I will be great florist and want to make people impressed by seeing my work and make their special day very happy!!