PHL-New York Jaycees to celebrate 50th with anniversary gala

The Jaycees in a 1963 group picture

The Jaycees in a 1963 group picture

The JCI as they are known today

The JCI as they are known today

It began 50 years ago when young Filipino professionals seeking to serve a fledgling Filipino American community in New York organized themselves into a Jaycees chapter. On July 20, 1963, the Philippine-New York Jaycees held its induction at the International House Auditorium in Columbia University, becoming the first Filipino Jaycees chapter formed in a foreign land. Ernesto Pilares was the founding president.

At this presentation, according to a press statement, young Filipino men accepted the challenge of “Leadership Training Through Community Service,” which is the basic principle of the Jaycee movement. “These young men sought to serve the civic and social needs of the community,” it said.

Fifty years later today, the Junior Chamber International Philippine-New York (JCI) continues its mission of providing development opportunities that “empower young people aged 18-40 to create positive change.” The 50th and current president is Bel Molina, a senior research analyst at a Fifth Avenue research agency.

JCI has the distinct honor of being the longest-standing ethnic-based chapter of the U.S. Jaycees, which according to their officials, continues to undertake “pioneering projects beneficial to its members and the community.” The chapter is devoted to leadership training of its members and the community via balanced programs in the areas of business, individual development, community development, membership services and international affairs.

It will hold its 50th Anniversary Gala on September 28 at 7 p.m., at Elite Palace in Woodside, New York, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg set to proclaim the date as “JCI Philippine-New York Day” in honor of its golden milestone.

This year’s gala is a celebration dedicated to more than 5,000 members who have joined the chapter through the years. These members contributed to the chapter’s rich history and continued on to become community leaders, successful businessmen, government officials, accountants, teachers, lawyers, doctors and many other professions.

The event is spearheaded by overall chairman of the event, Richard Rillera, the 27th Chapter President as well as Bel Molina, the 50th and current Chapter President. Honorary Chairs include the Honorable Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr. of the Philippine Consulate General in New York and the global community leader Ms. Loida Nicolas-Lewis.

JCI continues to support city and state programs (park clean-up, tree planting, NYC Marathon); raise funds and conduct awareness programs for local, national and international entities (Philippine General Hospital, Gawad Kalinga, Nothing but Nets); collaborate with other organizations (Philippine Independence Day Council Inc., Team Takbo, Filipino American Human Services Inc.) and organize events celebrating Filipino tradition (Simbang Gabi/Panunuluyan, parol-making workshop, Tagalog lessons).

The chapter is proud of its participation in numerous projects, including the health and fitness forum “New Year, New You” on January 16, 2013, the “One Thing That’s Green” community tree planting on April 20, 2013, in Highland Park, the “Be Your Own Boss Seminar on Investing in a Franchise Business in the Philippines,” and the letter campaign and fundraiser, Letters to Oklahoma- Raising Sentiments in response to the deadly tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma in the afternoon of May 20, 2013.

To learn more about the JCI 50th Anniversary Gala, please visit their website here.

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