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A Dream for the Future

SoCal-Pacific Territory’s first Soka Family Day at Soka University of America inspires future division members to have a dream.

ALISO VIEJO, Calif.—SoCal-Pacific Territory held its first quint zones Soka Family Day at Soka University of America (SUA) on June 9, with some 300 future division members and parents hailing from the five local zones.

Not only was this the first Soka Family Day of its scale, it was, for some, their first time visiting the university founded by Daisaku Ikeda.

“This is Sensei’s school that he entrusted to all of us,” Adin Strauss, SGI-USA’s general director, said to the participants in the opening session. “I hope that, through today, you can take even one more step toward this idea of feeling that this university is a part of your life, a part of the great Soka family that extends around the world.”

During the opening session, SUA student Yuuma Iichi spoke about how attending the SGI-USA junior high and high school conference as a high school student changed his life. It was the friendships that he formed there, he said, that inspired him to attend SUA. 

Edward Feasel, SUA’s president, said that growing up in a family with financial difficulties, he never imagined he could attend university. But because of a counselor who believed in him, he studied hard and practiced Buddhism toward accomplishing his dream. When his father fell ill and the young Feasel thought his dream was over, Sensei sent him a message: “Don’t give up on your dreams.” Feasel didn’t give up and was soon accepted to Yale University with a full scholarship.

Feasel still vividly remembers Sensei speaking of the importance of dreams—that they become our direction in life; our source of energy. “I believe Sensei created SUA to give all of you youth a dream for the future,” he said. “That you could join with your classmates with the determination to become global citizens who will create peace in this world.”

Breakout sessions by group took up the main part of the day. The elementary school students met in the Recreation Center to decorate treasure boxes and design banners showing the year they would potentially graduate from SUA.

Older students listened to a presentation on life and academics at SUA, asked questions to a panel of future division leaders and took a guided tour of the campus.

Parents, too, got into the act, with a tour, a Q&A session with Ed Feasel and faith encouragement with Adin Strauss.

The day concluded with a lively lunch at the cafeteria. “It was nice to be able to think and learn about what we can do when we grow up,” said one future division member. Parents expressed their appreciation for the event and their newfound dream of sending their children to SUA in the future. 

The local SGI-USA leaders aim to make this an annual event to solidify the future of kosen-rufu in America—with the hope of encouraging more and more young people to never give up on their dreams.

July 5, 2024, World Tribune, p. 10

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