Changing Tides Update - Little Tokyo Service Center

Dear Friends,

We hope this email finds you well and enjoying the spirit of this holiday season.

We wanted to take a moment to update you on exciting new developments that took place over this past year in the area of mental health and wellness. In May, LTSC hosted an event called Changing Tides: An Open Conversation on Compassion and Well-Being to begin a discussion about the highly stigmatized topic of mental health. The purpose of the event was to come together to discuss serious mental health issues which affect the well-being of Japanese and Asian Americans across all ages and genders and to raise funds to support outreach and expand mental health services at Little Tokyo Service Center.

Proceeds from this event were used to host a series of meetings and activities organized by the youth/young adult component of Changing Tides, the “CT Crew.” In addition to events, the CT Crew also met with individuals and professionals in politics and education to advocate for increased awareness of mental health stigma and better access to services in the Asian American community. Highlights of the past seven months include:


CT Paint Night: In conjunction with the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute, more than 40 youth from ages 14-24 years participated in a creative activity to promote mental well-being. In addition to an interactive painting workshop led by a community artist, the event included a short talk by marriage and family therapist, Matthew Shima. Art was presented as a relaxing and fun way to de-stress and to support mental and emotional well-being. (Please view video link: You Paint Night-Changing Tides.

CT Candle-Making Workshop: Holidays often bring added stress that may intensify feelings of depression, loss and anxiety and impact our overall well-being.

A candle-making workshop took place at Christ Episcopal Church on Dec. 15 from 3-5 p.m. Volunteer Elizabeth Morinaka lead a workshop on how to make candles as a way to de-stress and create healthy holiday traditions. Photos and video links will be up soon so please check for updates at Changing Tides.


Sept. 18: Changing Tides youth and young adults met with elected officials and school district representatives to discuss mental health outreach to high school students in the Palos Verdes school district, which has a 40% Asian American student population. Also discussed, was state legislation that may influence mental health promotion for students.

Oct. 20: A meeting was held with Chiaki Ueki, founder of the South Bay National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Japanese-Speaking Support Group. Chiaki shared her experience in starting this group in order to address the unmet mental health needs of the Japanese community.

Oct. 27: The CT Crew was selected to present at Project by Project’s 2018 Community Hackathon. Project by Project is a national volunteer organization of young professionals who help local non-profits build and strengthen capacity. Volunteer consultants assisted CT in developing an overall campaign to increase awareness and accessibility to mental health. The CT Crew then presented their plan and placed first in the Hackathon!

Nov. 15: Youth/young adult members of CT met with Mike Okabayashi, member of the Pepperdine University Board of Regents, to discuss mental health issues among college students.


Exciting new developments are on the horizon. Changing Tides was graciously invited back to host our second fundraising event at the beautiful estate of Carolyn Elliott on Sunday, May 19 from 4 p.m. -7 p.m.

Other activities being planned for 2019 include a mental health collaboration with taiko group performances, presentations to college-based Southern California Nikkei Student Unions, a Department of Mental Health “First Aid Training” for volunteers and a mental health conference in 2019.

We thank you for your support through this past year and hope to see you at one or more of our Changing Tides events in 2019.

With gratitude and best wishes for the New Year,

Dean Matsubayashi Signature

Margaret Shimada Signature

Dean Matsubayashi
Executive Director

Margaret Shimada
Social Services Director

Max with the other Changing Tides team leaders

 The CT Crew with our hostess, Carolyn Ellio

Changing Tides 2018: May 19, 2018- The CT Crew with our hostess, Carolyn Ellio

Art, food, friends, and mental health at the Gardena Valley JCI

August 11, 2018 CT Paint Night

CT Paint Night: August 11, 2018- Art, food, friends, and mental health at the Gardena Valley JCI

Project by Project’s Project Lead

Spreading holiday cheer and mental health awareness through creative candle making

Project by Project’s Project Lead: October 27, 2018
The CT Crew takes first place!

CT Candle Making: December 15, 2018
Spreading holiday cheer and mental health  awareness through creative candle making


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