Lakeside High School student, Caroline Cole, received the 2013 Youth Leadership award at the 2013 Sister Cities International Annual Conference held in San Antonio, Texas in July.Caroline received the award based on her willingness to go above and beyond what is normally expected of a student to promote and participate in the sister city experience. Caroline was a member of the 2012 Hanamaki student delegation that traveled to Hanamaki, Japan and in November of 2013 and was invited to become a youth board member of the Hot Springs National Park Sister City Foundation.
Hot Springs was one of seven United States cities selected by Sister Cities International to receive the Leading Asia: Renewing the U.S. and Japan Sister Cities Network exchange funding. The funding enabled a 10-day visit by the Hot Springs delegation to their Japanese sister city, Hanamaki, Japan.
Hot Springs’ program is mulch-faceted and includes citizen exchanges, cultural exchanges, and educational exchanges with sister city Hanamaki, Japan. In 2011, in the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan, Hot Springs also included the “Compassionate Exchange.” Hot Springs assisted Hanamaki in caring for more than
1,000 evacuees from the coastal area that streamed into the city. The program raised $25,000 through fundraising efforts. Their efforts were widely recognized by local and international media as well as the U.S. Department of State.