LTSCene – August 2021 - Little Tokyo Service Center

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LTSCene Monthly Newsletter

August 2021 Issue

title: making stridesWith summer coming to an end, we wrapped up two inaugural summer camps and are making strides in some of our major projects!  As we transition into the fall, we are excited to continue working towards our ultimate goal of creating positive change in our community!

title text: Budokan receives $300K in state funding

Budokan Receives Funding from State Budget for Community Funds and Services

Thanks to Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Terasaki Budokan will be receiving $300,000 as a part of this year’s state budget for community funds and services.  Erich Nakano, Executive Director of LTSC, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago and Councilmember Kevin de Leon held a press conference at Terasaki Budokan earlier this month to announce the news of the major contribution that will be used to help fund programs at Budokan.  

picture from press conference“We’re so grateful to have representatives in Sacramento and in L.A. City Hall that we can call friends and partners  who have been able to make such a difference in the lives of the people that we serve,” expressed Erich Nakano.  Prior to the completion of Terasaki Budokan and the allocation of funds from the state budget, Assembleymember Santiago and Councilmember de Leon were instrumental in helping LTSC fund the project, allocating millions of dollars to get the gym and cultural hub completed.  

While COVID complications have stalled the grand opening for Terasaki Budokan, programs like Camp Budokan and the Mi CASA Summer Camp were a big success this summer and hopeful signs of bigger things to come. Aside from sports and youth camps, Budokan has been serving seniors as well, holding vaccine clinics at the beginning of the year and more recently hosting free senior wellness activities as restrictions began to ease. Budokan also partnered with Urban Voices Project, a nonprofit from the neighboring Skid Row community that helps their clients heal through singing and musical performances. Living up to its mantra as “a home court for all,” Budokan is serving the diverse needs of the neighborhood and is bringing people from all over Los Angeles to Little Tokyo.

title text: Mi CASA Summer Camp Wrap Up
Mi CASA Concludes 5 Week Summer Program

pictures from Mi Casa summer campThis month, LTSC’s Mi CASA after school program completed its first 5-week hybrid summer camp at Terasaki Budokan, serving a total of 52 youth aged 6-18. Mi CASA is a free after school program for low income youth that supports the physical, emotional and social health of youth in Little Tokyo and neighboring communities. Mondays and Wednesdays were conducted virtually with take home art kits, while Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent in person at Budokan with tutoring and activities, which included art and different sports each week.

“Mi CASA’s Summer Program was the first opportunity for LTSC youth to interact in person in over a year, and for most, be able to play outdoors. Experiencing over a year of social isolation, mental health struggles, and other hardship, our 5-week program was able to provide youth with academic assistance, organized sports activities, art and movement expression, and community,” explained Jackie Waight, Youth Services Coordinator at LTSC.  The program, which was created for children who live in LTSC’s buildings, provides an important support system for them, helping them build friendships with children in similar situations. “This was the first time many of the youth had met others who live in the same building and were able to build relationships with other youth, staff, and volunteers. Programs like Mi CASA are extremely important to our youth because it addresses their needs holistically and how accessible the program is,” added Jackie.

With summer winding down, Mi CASA will launch their after school program for the 2021-2022 school year.  This year, Mi CASA will be expanding its services to not only LTSC residents, but to other low income families in our community as well. For more information, visit 

Title Text: Go for broke project
LTSC’s Go for Broke Affordable Housing Project Reaches New Milestones

Little Tokyo Service Center and Go For Broke National Education Center’s “Go for Broke Apartments” project reached a major milestone in receiving its zoning and environmental entitlements approvals and a preliminary recommendation for a funding award from the Los Angeles Housing Department. With entitlements and the project’s first funding commitment secured, LTSC moves forward on this affordable housing project located in Little Tokyo.

“We are so excited, together with our partner, Go For Broke NEC, to push forward on this project.  We’d like to thank all of our community partners who helped make this project possible- especially Kevin de Leon, the Little Tokyo Community Council, Sustainable Little Tokyo, and the stakeholder businesses and cultural institutions on the First Street block. This is a project that has been years in the making, and is what the community and our partners have been seeking for a long time,” said Erich Nakano, Executive Director of Little Tokyo Service Center. 

Earlier this year, City Council approved Councilmember Kevin de Leon’s motion to expand the footprint of the Go For Broke project. This nearly tripled its original unit plan, growing from 77 units to 220+ units of affordable and permanent supportive housing, including housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. The project also includes much-needed ground floor commercial and community space for legacy businesses, arts, green space and more.  

The expansion was a huge win for the Little Tokyo community and a major step forward in securing community control over the historic First Street North block in Little Tokyo – a campaign the community has rallied behind for years.  Little Tokyo is an important cultural hub for the Japanese American community, as one of three remaining Japantowns in the nation, and has been threatened by developers, rising rent and gentrification for decades.  

Ground floor commercial spaces are available. Please direct inquiries to Debbie Chen, LTSC’s Director of Real Estate at

rendering of go for broke apartments

title text: mobile vaccination clinic
LTSC Brings Mobile Vaccination Clinic to Residents at Angelina Apartments

With the rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant, getting people vaccinated is more important than ever.  Though there have been efforts to make the vaccine as accessible as possible, barriers to getting the shot still exist: the language on paperwork, transportation to a vaccination site, childcare, misinformation around immigration status, distrust of government agencies, and many more.  In an effort to break some of these barriers with our residents, LTSC hosted a vaccination micro-clinic at Angelina Apartments this month, where residents received vaccines. 

resident receiving a vaccine at Angelina apartmentsBecause of LTSC’s relationship with our residents, staff were able to identify and address barriers and hesitations, like accessibility.I don’t drive and I don’t like being away from my babies for too long. It’s also hard to step away from my job as a teacher to get the shot. The convenience was really good for me. This clinic was the last push that I needed (to get the vaccine),” explained Dulce, a teacher at Angelina Preschool. Another common sentiment among residents is that they trust LTSC – because the vaccine and information came from our organization (versus a government website), they felt more comfortable. 

If you need help getting vaccinated, visit or call the vaccine hotline at 833-540-0473.Vaccines are safe, free, and effective, and are available to everyone 12 and older regardless of immigration or insurance status.  LA County has announced that they will not be asking about your immigration status when you get a vaccine.

titel text: volunteer highlight
An Interview With Camp Budokan Lead Counselors, Alyson Chang & Aidan Kosaka

Alyson Chang and Aidan Kosaka both volunteered as Lead Counselors for the first youth basketball camp held at Terasaki Budokan. Alyson and Aidan consistently went above and beyond their duties to ensure that the campers had a great experience. From working with our youngest campers (5 and 6 year olds) to engaging in post lunch activities and extended care programming, Alyson and Aidan truly contributed to the summer camp’s success!

Alyson and Aidan pose in Budoan gym


What do you enjoy most about volunteering with LTSC?

One of the things I enjoy most about volunteering for LTSC and Budokan has always been going to Little Tokyo to help out. These events allow me to connect with my roots as well as connect with others in the JA community. Through these events I also developed friendships and relationships with people who continue to support the community.

Are there any moments from your volunteer experience that stand out?

One of the best experiences volunteering for Budokan was when we did a fundraiser that included meeting a Lakers Legend, Jerry West. I was ten years old at the time. That event was the first time I ever did a public speech and I think it allowed me to be a confident speaker today. However, the highlight of this event was when Jerry West stepped aside with me and gave me a small shooting lesson.

What is something you’ve learned or developed in the last year?

One of the things I developed this year was my organizing skills. This year my friends and I felt that it was important to bring people back to Little Tokyo, especially my generation, so we started nHOOP (‘n Honor Of Our Parents) which is the very first basketball league at Budokan. This has taught me a lot about working with people and being organized. We had to abide by COVID-19 rules so we had to be very organized in case of contact tracing.


What do you enjoy most about volunteering with LTSC?

My favorite part about volunteering with Budokan is having the opportunity to create fun and memorable experiences for younger children. Throughout my childhood, I always looked up to the older camp counselors and coaches of mine who ultimately inspired me to give back to the community. I hope to do the same with the campers/players I coach so that they’ll have that same great experience and want to come back to volunteer in the future as well.

Are there any moments from your volunteer experience that stand out?

I was recently a coach for the Budokan basketball summer camp and had a blast. We had to wake up pretty early to get through LA traffic to spend 6 hours in the gym, but the time flew by every day. The majority of the campers that Garrett Sasaki and I coached had never played basketball before or had very minimal experience, but by the end of the week they were a whole different team. It was really awesome and rewarding to see the progress they made individually and as a team while having fun! We felt super lucky to have such a hardworking and energetic bunch who were eager to learn.

What is something you’ve learned or developed in the last year?

In the last year, and summer especially, I’ve redeveloped my love for spending time in Little Tokyo, and Budokan has developed a special place in my heart. During high school, I rarely had the time to take a trip to Little Tokyo, but now I’m at the Budokan every Sunday night playing in the new nHOOP (‘n Honor Of Our Parents) Basketball League. Missing out on community events & JA basketball for the past year has been tough, so having the opportunity to reconnect with everyone and coordinate this league with Aidan Kosaka and Matt Okazaki has been an amazing experience. It’s also been really nice to rediscover the many delicious Japanese foods and see the nHOOP league players go out to eat after their games and support the local businesses!

Title text: California Community Foundation
California Community Foundation Supports LTSC With Funding for Key Programs

california community foundation logoThe California Community Foundation (CCF) is a strong partner of LTSC. Together we have focused on affordable housing and community engagement in Los Angeles. This past year CCF increased its support of LTSC and has been instrumental in helping us expand our youth programs for our residents. With a grant from the Housing Opportunities for Los Angeles (HOLA), LTSC was able to launch a youth internship program that increased the capacity of the current program. The interns are providing new activities for our youth while preparing for their future education and career goals. Also, the 2021 LA County Summer Learning Initiative grant supported LTSC’s summer youth program. The virtual and in-person activities included art projects to reduce stress caused by the pandemic and fun workshops to encourage interest in science. Providing youth programs at the newly opened Terasaki Budokan allows more youth to participate in a wider variety of learning and sports activities. LTSC would like to thank CCF for helping us launch these new programs for our youth and families.

title text: pfaffinger foundation
Pfaffinger Foundation Partnership Helps LTSC Support Families in Need

pfaffinger foundation logoLTSC’s overarching goal for the families it serves is for them to achieve self-sufficiency. LTSC provides affordable housing, financial coaching, job search assistance and childcare so families can succeed. Occasionally families hit a bump in the road and LTSC relies on its partnership with Pfaffinger Foundation to help smooth the way. As a partner in Pfaffinger Foundation’s Family Self Sufficiency Initiative, LTSC is able to provide emergency assistance and prevent a small setback from cascading into a large problem. “An unexpected car repair or medical bill causes a lot of stress for our families,” said Gilda Hernandez, LTSC’s Neighborhood Services Coordinator. “Knowing there are people who care about what happens to them brings great comfort,” Gilda explained. In addition, because of this partnership we are able to transform lives including helping formerly homeless families move into safe and stable homes. LTSC is thankful to have Pfaffinger Foundation as a partner that shares LTSC’s dedication to helping families in Los Angeles thrive.

title text: vaccine information
LTSC Supports We Can Do This

vaccine info sheetLTSC supports We Can Do This, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s nationwide COVID-19 and vaccine education campaign. The Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Community has been hit hard by COVID-19 and many need help receiving vaccine information. We are working together to ensure our community has access to important information in our fight against COVID. Learn about COVID-19 vaccinations and get help scheduling your vaccine at VACCINES.GOV. #WeCanDoThis 





header text "quick updates"

childrens wallChildren’s Wall at Terasaki Budokan

The Children’s Wall at Terasaki Budokan is complete! Thank you to all our supporters who purchased a tile for the Children’s Wall. The next time you visit Little Tokyo, make sure to stop by Terasaki Budokan and take a look! Click here to take a look at some pictures of the completed Children’s Wall!






kosumosu client receiving helpKosumosu Completes Renovations

LTSC recently received a $1 million grant to renovate our Kosumosu facility (transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence). The grant enabled us to install new windows, flooring and A/C units for every room, as well as repairing the drainage for the playground area. These small upgrades helped us improve the quality of life at Kosumosu, and better serve our clients.  Click here to learn more about how Kosumosu serves its clients!





urban voices project logoUrban Voices Project Brings Concert to Terasaki Budokan

Terasaki Budokan is proud to partner with Urban Voices Project! Last month, the Urban Voices Project choir performed “Coffee House” on the Budokan stage. Urban Voices Project uses music and community spaces for healing, growth, and expression through music and singing. They also support the unhoused community of Skid Row, and give their members a sense of purpose and improved health. Hosting programs like Urban Voices Project furthers Terasaki Budokan’s mission to serve as a “home court for all,” by providing a space for not just the Little Tokyo community, but for our neighbors in Skid Row and Downtown Los Angeles. Click here to Watch Urban Voices Project perform “Walk With Me” for LTSC’s Sake on the Couch fundraiser!

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July 2021 Donors

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

Ted Akahori

Janee Allsman

Anonymous (11)

Dennis Arguelles

Alicia Burr

The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation

Phyllis D’Ambra

Samantha de Castro

Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen

Gary Eto

Regina Furumoto

Randy and Kathy Furushiro

Robert Guffin

Glenn Hamanaka

Mieko Harrington

Lisa Hasegawa

Kerin Higa

Meghan Holtan

Fred and Tina Ige

Brian Ikeda

Jane Ishii

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose

Jerry Kamei

Rosalyn Kawahira

Iku Kiriyama

Carolyn Kobayashi

Kumiko Kondo

Oliver Lee

Loyola Marymount Nikkei Student Union

Lori Magallanes

Susan Maki

Cynthia Masada

Asao and Kim Masumiya

Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira

Bob and Teresa Matsushima

Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing

Veronica Miyakawa

Nancy and Mark Munekata

Mike Murase and June Hibino

Nicole Murph

Mutual Trading Co., Inc.

Tatsuo Nagashima

Lisa and Eric Nakkim

Jeanne Nelson

Steven and Shirley Ogata

Mike Okamura

Takashi and Beverly Oki

John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto

Tadao Okui

Susan Osa

Masanobu Oshiro

Ken and Donna Ota

Michiyo Ozaki

PayPal Giving Fund

Gene and Kazuko Pinkerton

Riot Games

Haruko Shimabukuro

Margaret and Ken Shimada


Masako Sugiura

Cooke and Elaine Sunoo

Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda

Kate Suyetsugu

Michael Suzuki

Chris and Janet Taga

Esther Taira

Kelly and Rintaro Takasu

Yuka Takeuchi

Diana Tani

Norman and Corinne Tatara

Chelle Tateishi

Keith Umemoto

David and Donna Uyehara

Marsha and Gary Watanabe

Lesley and Russell Wong

Norman and Nora Yamauchi

Ronald and Julia Yano

Catherine Yen

Winsome Yuen

Jennifer Yun

Tribute Gifts

In Honor of Heather Blais-Pickering

Wendy Mochizuki


In Honor of Kirsten Grimm

Kathryn and Donald Grimm


Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Toki Hirai



In Memory of William Ishibashi



In Memory of Delcey Kawasaki



In Memory of Y. Jack Kunitomi

Dale S. Kunitomi


In Memory of Henry Minami Jr.

Suzy Katsuda


In Memory of Tetsuo Murata

Brandon Kitagawa


In Memory of Art and Ruth Nakano

Kraig Nakano


In Memory of S. Stephen & Sally Nakashima



In Memory of Judy Ota

Kaz Ota


In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson

Emily and Dan Weaver


In Memory of Kiyoshi and Chieko Shimokaji

Michael Shimokaji


In Memory of Nicholas Kendall Song


Scott and Kari Johnson

Stuart Kobata

Martha Matsuoka

Natalie and James Nishimura


In Memory of Reverend Howard Toriumi

Roger Stephens and Laura Toriumi Stephens


In Memory of Lai Ching Wei

Joseph Freeman


Terasaki Budokan

Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki

Jerry and Sue Herbers

Noriaki and Janet Ito

Scott Ito and Nan Lee

JACom Credit Union

Gary and Barbara Kitagawa

Norman and Mardy Maehara

Keri Nishi

Steve and Karen Nishimori

Jason and Rachelle Samson


Loana Valencia

Norman and Nora Yamauchi

Elaine Yamazaki-Sanchez


Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Leland Lau

Cindy and Glenn Fujimoto


In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi

Dee Montealvo


In-kind Donations


Marsha and Gary Watanabe


Vehicle Donations

Kristy Chin

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