LTSCene – April 2021 - Little Tokyo Service Center

Little Tokyo Service Center logo

LTSCene Monthly Newsletter

April 2021 Issue

Title text, Building a Stronger Community, featuring one of our seniors participating in a self defense class.For 40 years, LTSC has been strengthening our community through various programs and projects. Our strong foundation of serving the community enables us to pivot during trying times like the pandemic, economic downturn, and upsurge in violence against the AAPI community.

Header text "Building Community to Combat Hate"
LTSC Works to Ensure the Safety and Wellbeing of the Community

Senior taking a self defense class.

Though LTSC’s history is rooted in supporting the Japanese American community, as the organization grew and expanded its services, so did the community which LTSC served. Today, our services and projects support more than just the AAPI community and Little Tokyo, but our work remains rooted in supporting the vulnerable.  

The recent uptick in hate crimes against the AAPI community, especially seniors, is extremely sad, disappointing, and unacceptable- and we have been working with other organizations in our community to find solutions which will keep our neighborhood safe.

It is unfortunate that the current circumstances of our nation have led to this need, but thanks to preexisting senior wellness programs, LTSC was able to pivot quickly, to offer programs which would help protect our seniors.  We started by educating seniors, providing them with safety tips as well as self defense classes.  As we work with other organizations to come up with more ways in which we can ensure the safety of our community, we continue to believe that by building strong communities, we can keep the evil out of our neighborhoods.

Header text "Volunteer Highlight"
Volunteer Spotlight: Stan Yogi

Stan Yogi pulling a cart of food pantry items down a hall at one of our affordable housing unitsStan Yogi has been volunteering with LTSC’s Resident Services program for almost a year, helping with food pantry and produce deliveries to our residents in our affordable housing units.  Thanks to the support from volunteers like Stan, we’ve been able to help keep families safe by bringing them fresh produce and food items.

What motivated you to volunteer with LTSC?

A few things: First, there was a need, and I was able to fill that need in a small way, along with other volunteers. Second, I live about a mile away from LTSC, and my schedule is flexible. So it was very convenient for me to volunteer.  And third, probably most importantly, what I knew about LTSC’s programs was very positive.

You’ve been a dedicated volunteer for quite some time now- what keeps you coming back?

Having volunteered now for almost a year, I’ve been deeply impressed and grateful for the work that LTSC is doing, especially during the pandemic. The strategic and really effective ways that LTSC is addressing the needs of its residents and the broader community, both people who live in Little Tokyo and small businesses, is really impressive. So that’s just motivated me even more to continue volunteering, knowing the impact that LTSC is having in the community.

Having volunteered with us now, meeting some of our residents face to face, and working with some of our staff, what was that experience like? Getting to build community with our organization?

It’s been fantastic! It’s been great to get to know and work with David, Gilda, Nancy, and the resident services program, as well as  Margaret, Vivian and others in social services.  Everyone is super dedicated.  Things are easing up now with vaccines, but when I started volunteering, there were no vaccines.  I was very moved by how the LTSC staff stepped up to address the immediate needs of residents and community members.  It’s just been wonderful to be a small, small part of the LTSC community, and to be inspired by the dedication and really strategic thinking of LTSC’s staff.

What would you say to someone who’s interested in volunteering with LTSC?

If you have the time and energy, raise your hand and sign up.  It’s not a huge time commitment. LTSC makes it super easy to contribute and make a difference in the community.

If you or someone you know is interested in supporting Little Tokyo’s small businesses, please consider signing up as a volunteer or donating!

Header text "Leading the Charge"
LTSC Names Debbie Chen as Director of Real Estate Development

Portrait photo of Debbie Chen

LTSC is happy to announce that Debbie Chen is our new Director of Real Estate Development. Debbie has been with LTSC for three years most recently serving as Senior Project Manager. “We are very excited to have Debbie as our new Director of Real Estate Development,” said Erich Nakano, Executive Director. “Her knowledge of affordable housing development and commitment to underserved communities will help us create many more new homes and communities for people in need.”  

Prior to joining LTSC, Debbie was the Community Planner and Project Manager at the Asian Community Development Corporation, based in Boston’s Chinatown, where she oversaw the completion of several housing projects. “Boston’s loss is Los Angeles’ gain,” said Takao Suzuki, Director of Community Development. “With Debbie’s prior experience and the knowledge she has gained about how affordable housing gets built in Los Angeles, we are looking forward to many grand opening ceremonies.”

“I hope to be a part of finding creative ways to build community assets and address the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles,” said Debbie. “With over 600 pipeline units, in the coming years we will provide families, veterans and the formerly homeless with safe and stable housing.”

Debbie has served as project lead for two projects in predevelopment in Little Tokyo and one in East Hollywood. The Go For Broke Apartment project with partner Go For Broke National Educational Center project was recently expanded to over 200 units and will include space for extensive community uses on the ground floor. The Santa Monica and Vermont Center project is a mixed use, 187 unit affordable housing project at the Metro station. “This project is the first of its kind– a highly dense, transit enhancing, 100% affordable and green development based on a vision co-created with community stakeholders in East Hollywood,” explained Debbie. “This is LTSC’s largest project so far and will preserve and enrich the surrounding community with improvements beyond the housing.”

Debbie helped develop the LA County CLT pilot program, is overseeing a community land trust acquisition in East Los Angeles and project managing a Southeast Asian-style food hall project at the Hollywood/Western Metro station. With these projects LTSC is fulfilling its mission of uplifting communities of color throughout Los Angeles.

Header text "Crocker Apartments"
Latest Updates in the Crocker Affordable Housing Development

Rendering of Crocker Apartments

LTSC’s newest affordable housing project in Little Tokyo continues to move forward. On the site of the former Umeya Rice Cracker Factory, the 100% affordable, 7-story mixed use development will offer 175 affordable housing units, of which half will be for permanent supportive housing.  Permanent supportive housing is a proven and effective way to combat homelessness, by providing housing and support services to the chronically unhoused.

Renderings for the new housing development have been complete, and we invite you to take a 3D virtual tour of the Crocker Apartments below!

Header text "Special Thanks'
Archstone Foundations helps LTSC build its capacity to serve seniors.

seniors receiving help from a social workerLTSC recently received a grant from Archstone Foundation to increase its capacity to serve older adults. Established in 1986, Archstone Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation whose mission is to prepare society for the growing needs of an aging society. Under the leadership of Christopher A. Langston, President and CEO, Archstone grants up to $5 million annually, primarily in Southern California.

Archstone Foundation provides capacity building grants to assist nonprofits achieve new levels of effectiveness. With this support LTSC will be able to complete a move of its client case files to a cloud-based system. “COVID-19 underscored the need to easily access client information when we are not physically in the office,” said Amy Phillips, the social worker who is coordinating the implementation of the new system. The new online client database will make it easier to track clients, generate reports and see trends in service needs. Social workers and care managers will be able to access the information they need wherever they have an Internet connection. Thank you to Archstone Foundation for helping LTSC serve older adults throughout Los Angeles.

Established in 1986, Archstone Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation whose mission is to prepare society for the growing needs of an aging society. Under the leadership of Christopher A. Langston, President and CEO, Archstone grants up to $5 million annually, primarily in Southern California.

Header text "Community Safety Reminder"
Welcome (Back) to Little Tokyo

With the vaccine rollout underway and restrictions loosening, it’s been great seeing people come back to Little Tokyo to eat, shop, and play!  With that being said, please be mindful of others and try to practice social distancing as much as possible.  The pandemic is not over yet, and we need everyone’s help to ensure the safety of our community. Please stay safe and healthy

Maneki Neko holding a bar of soapHeart hands, with Love little Tokyo script underneathkokeshi dolls with masks staying 6ft apart



Illustrations by Lisa Aihara

header text "quick updates"

Changing Tides LogoChanging Tides Launches their Podcast

Last month, Changing Tides launched their podcast! In the podcast, they’ve invited a variety of guests to chat about their lives, work, and mental health journeys, with the goal of encouraging these open conversations about mental well-being.  Episodes will be released every other Tuesday at midnight, and will be available on YouTube, Spotify, Anchor, and Apple Podcasts. 

Click the HERE to listen to the podcast!



Terasaki Budokan Children’s Wall UpdateCollage of artwork installed on Children's wall at the Terasaki Budokan

The Terasaki Budokan team has been working diligently through the pandemic to complete the Children’s wall located on the terrace adjacent to the children’s playground. Here is a sneak peak of the wall that has been painted and the larger design pieces installed. The last phase is to install over 400 tiles with the names on it. This was one of the final campaigns that we launched in order to finish out the fundraising campaign and we were able to raise over $90,000 for Terasaki Budokan. Thank you to all of our donors!

 Its not too late to have your (grand)child’s name on the wall. Click HERE to purchase a tile.


Judge and Board Member Akemi Arakaki wins Public Service AwardPortrait of Judge Akemi Arakaki
The Honorable Akemi Arakaki, a Judge on the LA Superior Court and a cherished LTSC board member of 12 years, received the Public Service Award at APAWLA (Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance)’s Virtual Installation event last week. LTSC is honored to have inspirational, virtuous and diligent leaders like Akemi on our Board of Directors. Congratulations Akemi!




LTSC Partners with Adventist White Memorial Hospital to Host Vaccine Clinic in Little TokyoVaccinated senior poses with "I got vaccinated today" sign
LTSC partnered with Adventist Health White Memorial to bring a mobile vaccination clinic to Little Tokyo on March 30. 
Adventist Health provided the vaccines and staff to inoculate our community members, while LTSC conducted outreach in various languages to local businesses, organizations, and residents to get the word out and pre-register people for the vaccination.  Together, we successfully vaccinated over 200 people in the community! Addressing this public health inequity strengthens the community’s safety and supports the re-opening of the local small businesses that are the lifeblood of this historic neighborhood. LTSC is proud to partner with its neighbor in Boyle Heights, Adventist Health White Memorial, to support marginalized communities of color.

Header text: Upcoming eventsFlier for A3M & Be the Match Virtual Run/Walk Event

A3M & Be The Match Virtual Walk+Run

The A3M & Be The Match Virtual Walk+Run unites communities across the US in support of helping patients in need of a blood stem cell transplant. This year we invite you to participate from home and go the distance of 5K your way! From May 16–21 complete your 5K by walking, running, biking or even skating! Whether you complete the 5K over the week or all at once, your support as a race participant will help create miracles for patients in need!

Click HERE to participate and save a life!


sake on the couch save the date flier

Sake on the Rocks Couch

LTSC’s annual Sake on the Rocks fundraiser is going VIRTUAL! Save the date so you don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event!

This year’s Sake on the Rocks Couch will feature a unique online platform, real-time mingling, live program elements, virtual experiences, sake tasting at home, and much more! More information coming soon:

your donation makes a difference

Thank you to all of our wonderful donors and supporters.

Our work isn’t possible without you!

March 2021 Donors

Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.

Marsha Aizumi

Jordyn Alexander

Janee Allsman


Alvin Appiah

Dennis Arguelles

Katie Avery

Emily Backus

Roxie Baker

Sarah Brandenberg

Olivia Broslawsky

Alicia Burr

Elizabeth Burton

Lauren Butler

Joel Callen

Elyse Cantor

Monica Carlos

Angie Chan

Priscilla Chan

Ceping Chao and Gary Busteed

Lelaina Ching

Bernice Chu

Victoria Ciampa

Jen Cienfuegos

Travis Clark

Stephanie Corrigan

Laura Damon

Donovan Daughtry

Kayla Davidson

Samantha de Castro

Martha Dietsche-Alberti


Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen

Grant Ebert

Edison International

Sam Engel

Cynthia Flores

Travis Francis

Grace and Ken Frantz

Milo Fremont

Dina Furumoto

Myron Gee and Ann Ogawa Gee

Paul Goyne

Ryan Grossman

Robert Guffin

Brent Gutierrez

Stephanie Haber

Ellis Hamburger

Lisa Hasegawa

Barbara Haskin

Will Heidrich

Lane Hering

Antonio Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez

Kerin Higa

CJ Hoke

Meghan Holtan

Kate Hopp

Joe Horiye

Cecilia Hoshiko

Andrew Hsiang

Malika Hunasikatti

Gillian Hunt

Gina Hyers

Kelly Ireland

Sarah Jaques

Tomoaki Kadono

Kambara Family Fund

Sharon Kamegai

Lukas Kanter

Alan Kawa

Ken and Karen Kawaguchi

Rosalyn Kawahira

Shin Kawasaki

Zigmund Kermish

Iku Kiriyama

William Kiszla

Shira Knishkowy

Carolyn Kobayashi

Emily Koh

Charles and Jean Kuniyoshi

Linda Kuratomi

Don Kuroyama

Brooke Larsen

Aeriel Lee

Myung Wan Lee

Oliver Lee

Ryan Leveillee

Jonathan Luna

Lori Magallanes

Susan Maki

Marina Mangie

Gary and June Masada

Diana and Yoshi Matsushima

Robert and Teresa Matsushima

David McDonough

Justin McGoldrick

Amanda McLaughlin

Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing

Masako Miki

Mike Murase and June Hibino

Nicole Murph

Jordan Mylet

Kazuhito Naruse

Jeselle Natividad

Leora Nessim

Kit Newton

Patricia Nicholson

Michael and Margie Odanaka

Laura Ohls

Victor Okada and Candace Lao

John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto

David Olson

Susan Osa

John and Irene Ota

Eric Oto

Larry Otsuka

Bryan Parker

Eric Pastore

PayPal Giving Fund

Michael Pelensky

PlayStation Cares

Brianna Posadas

Travis Robinson

Kelly Rolfes-Haase

Adam Rumage

Deena Sahi

Cari Sanders

Sansei Legacy

Carol Sato

Elaine Schmidt

Shannon Schwartz

Miya Shaffer

Katie Shanahan

Margaret and Ken Shimada

Dylan Sittig

Alexa Spiegel


Madalynn Stratton

Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda

Michael Suzuki

Hope Taglich

Esther Taira

Eloise Takaki

Kelly and Rintaro Takasu

Yuka Takeuchi

Calvin Tam

Chelle Tateishi

Anne Torney

Daniel Tou

Hillary Tribbs

Charles Trouba

Kate Tucci-Share

Keith Umemoto

Brooke Valls

Natasha Vargas

Elias Villalobos

Jane Voong

Zach Wagner

Matthew Walden

Momoyo Walters

Helena Wang

Marsha and Gary Watanabe

Jacob Watt

Justin Weber

Who What Wear

Britney Winthrope

Lesley and Russell Wong

Evan Woolley

Ken and Sandy Yamashiro

Jonathan Yang

Catherine Yen

Robert Yoshikawa

Yoshinoya America Inc

Eda Yu

Shannon Zhang


Tribute Gifts


In Honor of Atlanta shooting Victims and survivors

Amy Knierim


In Honor of Nikki Green

Jangmi Hong


In Honor of Brian Hamasaki’s birthday

Jo Ann Hamasaki


In Honor of Megan Teramoto

SIS Fund


In Honor of Kate Tucci

Brian Flach


In Honor of Emily Weaver

Gisele Goldwater-Feldman


Memorial Gifts


In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki

Suzy Katsuda


In Memory of Robert Matsumoto

Teri Osato


In Memory of Mitsue Nishio



In Memory of Sumie Numaguchi



In Memory of Merilynne Quon

Linda and Richard Don

Stephen Ikkanda

Amy Mass

Steve and Patty Nagano

Kaz Ota

Malcolm Quon

Richard Quon

Karen Quon

Buck Wong


In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson

Emily and Dan Weaver


In Memory of Yoshiaki Shimizu

Keto Shimizu


Terasaki Budokan

Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki

Deanna L. Atkinson

Daniel Huynh

The Kito Family, FUGETSU-DO

Norman and Mardy Maehara

Jed Miyashiro

Jason and Rachelle Samson

Loana Valencia

Jayne and Gideon Young Family


Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts


In Memory of Misako Fujisawa

Kimianne and Virgil Thomas


In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki

Sadie and Augie Medina


In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi

Ayumi Nagata


Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M)

VMware Foundation

Byron Hirata


In-kind Donations

Cynthia Abrams

B & B Toy Maker Inc.

Hosoda Bros. Inc.

Jungle Merch, LLC

Diana and Yoshi Matsushima


Sun Noodle

Marsha and Gary Watanabe


Vehicle Donations

Timothy Yamadera

Karie Yamamoto

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