July 2021 Issue
As COVID restrictions eased, we celebrated the return of in-person programs, big accomplishments and major milestones! Scroll down for some good news!
26 years after the push to open a recreation center in Little Tokyo began, Terasaki Budokan successfully hosted its inaugural youth sports camps. Across two weeks, Budokan hosted a basketball camp and karate camp, bringing in 50 youth campers.
“The sight of kids running through Terasaki Budokan these past two weeks has been surreal. Throughout the years raising the funds to build the facility, it was only a dream of what it would be like to have the gym filled with kids. I was able to witness that dream come to fruition during our basketball and karate camps. It was amazing,” explained Kim Kawasaki, the programs and social media coordinator at Terasaki Budokan.
Despite some early nerves and uncertainties due to the ongoing pandemic, the camps went safely and smoothly, as kids showed up every morning eager to work on their basketball and/or karate skills. With the success of their inaugural camp, things are looking up for the Budokan team, after a delayed grand opening due to COVID restrictions. With youth camps and sports leagues getting back into full swing, the Terasaki Budokan is finally able to fulfill its mission, as well as the hopes and dreams of those who worked to bring a recreation center to Little Tokyo.
Little Tokyo Eats Program Ends as Restrictions Ease
The Little Tokyo Eats program completed its final delivery on June 30, 2021, after providing a lifeline for local restaurants and low income seniors living in Little Tokyo since April of last year. When the pandemic lockdowns began and restaurants were limited to takeout operations, LTSC sprang into action, working with local restaurants, volunteers, and Keiro, who financially supported the program from start to finish. With Keiro’s financial backing, LTSC was able to pay restaurants $10 per meal while charging seniors only $3. Keiro subsidized the remainder of the cost to restaurants. Over the course of the project, 15 family owned and/or long-time restaurants in Little Tokyo received revenue totaling about $200,000 from LT Eats.
Beyond the financial relief provided to restaurants and low income seniors, there were many added benefits that resulted from the program as well. “Seniors had opportunities to have social interaction with volunteers, however limited by time constraints and language barriers. The feeling among seniors that people outside their buildings cared about them. The restaurant owners and workers feeling supported by LTSC and the community. The impact on JAs from throughout Southern California learning about this program and feeling a ‘sense of pride’ that Little Tokyo seniors were being taken care of–these were personal and community benefits during the pandemic that cannot be ignored,” explained Mike Murase, who oversaw the project.
In what was truly a community effort to support Little Tokyo’s small businesses and residents, none of this would have been possible without our dedicated volunteers and staff members who coordinated and executed the pickups and deliveries. Their kindness and willingness to help during this stressful time was truly inspiring. With restrictions easing up and businesses being able to fully reopen, we encourage our readers to stop by Little Tokyo and safely support our small businesses!
Far East Lounge Reopens
With pandemic restrictions easing and space available at Budokan, Far East Lounge (FEL) classes were able to start up again in June. Keeping safety and wellness in mind, there are currently 9 in-person classes and 1 virtual exercise class being offered by FEL. Close to 50 seniors participated in the program last month. The return of FEL was a big relief for the seniors, who have spent much of the past year indoors and unable to see many of their friends.
Social isolation is a major threat to the well being of seniors. “One of the main goals of FEL is to remove social isolation of our seniors and promote mental/emotional wellness with more in-person socialization and activities that stimulate creativity, expression, and stress-relief. Additionally, a majority of our participants are monolingual, which creates a language and cultural barrier and limits their access to socialization with others. Therefore, FEL provides a safe space for seniors to connect with others and the community through our activities,” explains Mototsugu “Moto” Sekiya, FEL Coordinator. FEL programming is built around the needs and interests of their participants, and staff take the seniors’ feedback seriously. With high demand for English classes, FEL will be offering English classes starting next month, which Moto hopes will break the barriers of social isolation caused by language. “We hope this class will instill a confidence to explore new social situations.” said Moto.
If you or someone you know may be interested in participating, please email email@example.com to sign up for classes!
LTSC’s Sake on the Couch a Big Success!
On July 17th, LTSC hosted Sake on the Couch, a fun pandemic-era twist on the popular LTSC event, Sake on the Rocks. Thanks to your support, LTSC was able to raise over $260,000 through the event. Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters and donors!
Unlike most virtual events, guests were free to explore a custom built virtual world, while interacting with other attendees. The virtual world featured famous Little Tokyo landmarks and also included mockups of future LTSC buildings like the Crocker Apartments and the Go for Broke Project. Like the in-person event, guests enjoyed sake tastings and delicious food, picking up their kits prior to the event. We appreciate those who attended the event, and look forward to seeing everyone in person next year!
LTSC and Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre Celebrate Building Acquisition
LTSC recently acquired an 11-unit, multifamily apartment building in East LA with Fideicomiso Comunitario Tierra Libre (FCTL), a community land trust based in East LA. To celebrate the acquisition, FCTL hosted LTSC and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis for a press conference and block party last month. LTSC’s Executive Director, Erich Nakano, spoke at the press conference, highlighting the importance of community self determination and preserving housing affordability. Through our partnership with FCTL, acquiring this property will protect tenants from rising rent prices, and eventually, the property will be converted into a cooperative tenant ownership. This community land trust model is one more way we’re continuing our fight for affordable housing throughout Los Angeles. Watch the clip below for a message of support from Roberto Garcia Ceballos and Franny Ortiz during Sake on the Couch!
LTSC Supports We Can Do This
LTSC 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
LTSC received a tax credit award, securing our last piece of financing for the Santa Monica and Vermont (SMV) affordable housing project. With $120M in financing secured, construction for the site will begin soon, bringing 187 units of much needed affordable and permanent supportive housing to East Hollywood.
As violence against the Asian and Asian American community endures, LTSC continues to take action. Most recently, we distributed safety tip sheets and personal alarms to local seniors. We continue to work with other community organizations to find ways to keep our seniors and community safe from racism and violence.
With most COVID restrictions lifted, Terasaki Budokan is now open to the general public for rentals! Host your next event at the facility or rent out the gym for recreational use. For more details on renting the facility, click here to view the digital brochure, or visit the Budokan website at: https://www.terasakibudokan.org/
For more articles and news stories featuring LTSC, visit the “In the News” section of our website.
June 2021 Donors
Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
Add your name to the list by making a DONATION today.
Kristen and Rob Abergas
Mitzi and George Akamine
Don and Lynn Akamine
The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
Samantha de Castro
Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara
Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen
Elaine and Danny Ganiko
Jerry and Kinuko Hashimoto
Nancee (Uyeda) and Roy Iketani
Sau Wah Ishizuka
Gary T. Izumi
Ken and Bonnie Kasamatsu
Grateful Crane Ensemble
Hideo and Julie Kawaguchi
Atsuko and Tadashi Kowta
Ami Hongo, L’Oeuf Poche
Gladys Lee and Hal Platts
Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira
Bob and Teresa Matsushima
Richard and Patricia Mori
Ken and Priscilla Mui
Mike Murase and June Hibino
John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto
PayPal Giving Fund
Margaret and Ken Shimada
Beverly and Henry Shu
Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda
Kelly and Rintaro Takasu
Anna Mae Tamaki
Walt Disney Company
Marsha and Gary Watanabe
Lesley and Russell Wong
Don and Marilyn Yamane
Richard and Lynn Yoshizumi
In Honor of Meredith Maimoni
In Memory of Shek N. Lau
In Memory of S. Stephen & Sally Nakashima
In Memory of Satsuki Omae
In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily and Dan Weaver
In Memory of Kiyoshi and Chieko Shimokaji
In Memory of Nicholas Kendall Song
Sharon Chun Wetterau
Jetty and Miller Fong
Chau and Thu Nguyen
The Open Door
In Memory of Katie Tanijiri
Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki
Nikkei Women Legacy Association
Nikkei Women Legacy Association
Jason and Rachelle Samson
Gary and Sandra Yamamoto
Terasaki Budokan Tribute Gifts
In Honor of Susan Ogawa
Craig and Cindy Ogawa
In Honor of Bill Watanabe
Mabel Fujita Harman
In Honor of Dave Yanai
Randy and Kathy Furushiro
Deanne and Keith Herbers
Randy Kitani Family
Alan and Sandra Kosaka
Ryoichi and Suzuko Kosaka
Mark and Raquel Shimizu
Alan Cathy Kelli Watanabe
Dave and Saeko Yanai
Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts
In Memory of Asao and Yukue Kitani
In Memory of Sam Shigeru Miyamoto
In Memory of Larry Saika