By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – The newly-elected president of the Filipino International Community of America (FICA) is rolling his sleeves as one of the emerging millennial leaders in the East Coast bent on contributing to prosperity and peace among immigrant and interracial families here.
Emiljun Rapada, from Elizabeth, NJ, has his hands filled with responsibility as a family man (he has five children), husband to Christine, national president of FICA, and a professional working for a not-for-profit organization. He recently finished his Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies at the Unification Theological Seminary in May 2017.
How does one do all that? EJ said, he sleeps only for about three hours a day in order to get into the grind and finish up the things to be done.
Excerpts of our interview:
- How do you balance your time to accomplish your responsibilities?
The balancing act is not an easy process. But I have a very clear priority. First, it is about God, the Heavenly Parent, and how I can be a filial son to Him and his will. Second is my family. I want to make sure that I am with my children in their growing years. My wife Christine and my parents are a tremendous support. The third is my bread and butter. I do my best to do my job quickly and effectively so I would have the time for my volunteer work with the organizations that resonate my passion and beliefs.
- In these roles that you do, where do you think you are you most effective as a leader?
I believe that leadership happens naturally but has to be effective in every level or role. It starts from my own family as the natural head of the family, then in my tribe, then in my church community and the Fil-Am community, and organizations with national and international scopes that work for foster peace and prosperity.
I pray a lot for my intentions why I am doing all these at the same time. I want to be properly educated and equipped to take on any leadership role that life will direct me.
- What does FICA do as an organization?
We make conscious effort to empower each family to be proactive and responsive to the vision and mission of FICA which is to set up families and communities that are prosperous, peace-loving, and God-centered. Since its founding in 2007, we especially engage the younger generations by forming their own youth clubs which is a venue to train them to become next leaders in the community through meet ups and community service projects such as sports, arts, education, and other things that interests the youth and develop their character and social skills.
- Any upcoming events of FICA for the community?
We are hosting the 1st Outstanding Parents’ Awards and Gala on July 22, 2017 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark. We are seeking nominations from organizations and communities for outstanding parents for their sacrificial love and dedication to the family. And also those who are known in the community for their contributions for well-being and peace. I believe that it is high time to recognize and celebrate our parents who have given so much sacrifice to our growth as children.
The Filipino International Community of America (FICA) is hosting the 1st Outstanding Parents’ Awards and Gala on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 160-A Frontage Road, Newark NJ 07114 from 1- 5 PM.
The event recognizes and celebrates the people who have given much of their lives, their time and resources to the growth and happiness of their children. Nominations are open for parents with the following criteria:
- Exemplify qualities of sacrificial love;
- Have overcome major obstacles (emotional, physical, financial, etc.) to provide for the
personal development and happiness of children;
- Exhibit inspiring virtues and/or religious commitment; and
- Have a noteworthy record of contributions to the family and community.
The Outstanding Parents’ Awards is inspired by the National Parents’ Day which came into law in 1994, when President Bill Clinton established the Fourth Sunday of July as a recurring and perennial day of commemoration. Since then, churches and community groups across the country have held annual activities designed to celebrate and strengthen families and to honor outstanding parents in their communities.
If you know outstanding parents in your organization or community who would qualify to this very important award, please nominate them immediately for consideration. For nomination forms and submissions, please contact Elena Bahian, Program Manager, at (718) 210-7847 or EJ Rapada at (732) 318-9469. Deadline for submission of nominations is on June 24, 2017.