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The  Jr. YBA was first established in the state of Hawai'i in 1957.  The Jr. YBA was separated from the original Young Buddhists Association (YBA), which had begun in the 1930s, at the 24th Territorial YBA Convention.  For the past 63 years, we have focused on not only helping our temples and sanghas but as well as the rest of our communities.  We strive to be a place where young Buddhists can embrace themselves, their religion, and create bonds that will last a lifetime.

"Jr. Young Buddhist Association (Jr. YBA) is a place where everyone is able to be who they are without the worry of judgment from other people. We are able to make the best memories and have the most genuine laughs with each other, feeling a different bond. Through being a minority religion, we are able to connect to others who share many of the same beliefs, morals, and values in a different way. Even through the few days at camps or conventions, we are able to open up and develop a sense of trust with people who become more than lifelong friends, but family."

In Gassho,

Lauren Kana Suzuki [2020 - 2021 Hawaii Federation Jr. YBAs President]

Our Officers and Advisor


Manami Alspach

Federation President

・United of Hawai'i・

Senior at Konawaena High School

Becoming president of the Jr. YBA  is an honor and something I never imagined attaining when I first joined Jr. YBA. Through this position, I would like to guide this year's board to make relevant changes and become more technologically advanced to continue into the modern world.


Jay Yokoyama

Federation Teasurer

・United of Maui

Junior at Kekaulike High School


Hello, my name is Jaimee Yokoyama but I currently go by Jay. I have been in YBA for 5 years, and my favorite thing about it is being able to connect and make friendships with others.


Chad Okawa

Federation Vice President

・United of 'Oahu・

Junior at Pacific Buddhist Academy


It is a privilege to serve as this year's Federation Vice President! I look forward to working with others and sharing what Jr. YBA is doing through the quarterly Serendipity Reports. どうぞよろしくお願いします!


Lauren Kana Suzuki

Immediate Past President

・United of 'Oahu・

Senior at Pearl City High School

Continuing to give back to the sangha and grow Jr. YBA has truly been a joy for me. I can’t wait to see what will come this year and for the memories we will make! Thank you so much for the amazing experiences thus far; these have and will continue to shape my values in life.


Naho Umitani

Federation Secretary

・United of Honolulu・

Senior at Pacific Buddhist Academy

I am so excited and honored to work as your Federation Secretary! The Jr. YBA has taught me so much about leadership and sangha, and I hope I can share that with you all. I will do my best to strengthen our Jr. YBA community that has given me so much!


Joy Wasai Nishida

Federation Advisor

・United of Honolulu・



In addition to being a co-advisor to the United Jr. YBA of Honolulu since 2004, I have been the Federation (State) Advisor since 2012. I work with Jr. YBA Advisors and members from around the State as well as the Federation officers. 

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