June 2018 Issue
From left: Max Kaito, Courtlyn Shimada, Carolyn Elliott, Teryn Hara and Ty Tanioka
Last month, LTSC held a special event to increase awareness of mental health issues for Japanese and Asian Americans—with an emphasis on mental health among youth—and help raise funds for LTSC’s counseling programs. The event, entitled “Changing Tides,” featured insightful remarks from an impressive lineup of speakers. Dr. Michelle Furuta and LTSC’s Director of Social Services Margaret Shimada spoke about mental health awareness and stigma. Mariko Koda and Ty Tanioka shared their own powerful personal stories. Dennis Murata, area director from the Department of Mental Health, stressed the need to support outreach efforts by LTSC that assist those struggling with mental health issues. Youth committee members, Teryn Hara, Max Kaito and Courtlyn Shimada served as emcees for the event and Miko Shudo (vocalist) and Miharu Okamura (pianist) gave a stirring musical performance.
Thank you to Carolyn and Julian Elliott for generously hosting “Changing Tides” as well as the honorary and event planning committees, sponsors, volunteers, staff and attendees who made this such a meaningful event. We look forward to future activities to change the tide on mental health.
LTSC will host its 12th Annual Sake & Food Tasting Event on Friday, July 20, 2018, 7-10 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) Plaza, 244 South San Pedro Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 (between 2nd and 3rd St.). The event will feature a wide array of sake, provided by Mutual Trading Co., Inc., and delicious small plates from top LA restaurants. Tickets are on sale now. Click here for more information.
Angelina Preschool students
We are pleased to share with you LTSC’s 2017 annual report of activities. 2017 was an exciting year for our organization, with numerous milestones and inspiring stories. Many of the images in the 2017 report, including the cover photos, were taken by multi-talented LA photographer, director and artist Zen Sekizawa. We hope you enjoy our highlights from the past year and we look forward to making new ones in 2018.
On June 16, a hip-hop and R&B music event dubbed “Straight Outta Little Tokyo 3” will be held at Nishi Hongwanji Temple in support of LTSC’s Terasaki Budokan project. The star-studded line-up includes an eclectic mix of musical genres and generation-spanning songs from Troop, Kokoro, Elemental Funk, Jules Aurora, Kaze Jones, and Paul Dateh, among others.
Join us for this exciting event. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online. Buy now to avoid the dreaded FOMO.
LTSC Community Organizing Director Evelyn Yoshimura speaks at a hearing at Metro Headquarters.
In May, LTSC joined allies from Little Tokyo and the Arts District to speak out against a controversial option for a new Metro rail line that would connect communities in southeastern Los Angeles County to Downtown LA. LTSC and other opponents of the option (“Alternative F”) expressed concerns that its proposed path would have a significant negative impact on the Little Tokyo community, which has already endured the burden of construction related to Metro’s Regional Connector and Eastside Gold Line in recent years. In response to this strong opposition, the Metro Board of Directors voted to remove Alternative F from consideration.
For more details, read full coverage from the Rafu Shimpo.
LTSC VITA volunteers and staff
For the past three years, LTSC has participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a free tax preparation service for low to middle-income taxpayers. LTSC is an IRS-certified site for VITA services. Members of LTSC’s team, after being trained and certified, help people in Little Tokyo and Downtown LA file their returns. For the 2018 tax season, LTSC’s 18 volunteers put in nearly 400 hours and submitted 235 returns for a total refund amount of over $200,000.
Thank you to all our outstanding VITA volunteers for your hard work and dedication.
Financial literacy workshop in the community
LTSC’s financial literacy programs empower families with lower incomes to achieve greater self-sufficiency. We provide workshops and one-on-one counseling to help families learn how to budget, increase savings and decrease debt. After the program, they are better prepared to develop financial goals and more deliberate about managing finances responsibly.
LTSC would like to thank Cathay Bank Foundation for being a part of this program. With a generous grant and employee volunteers, Cathay Bank Foundation has made our program stronger and available to more families.
Thank you to Cathay Bank Foundation for supporting LTSC.
LTSC staff and volunteers
In May, LTSC staff and volunteers participated in the 2018 Little Tokyo Sparkle event. Each year, Little Tokyo Sparkle assembles an enthusiastic community-wide team of volunteers to come together to keep Little Tokyo clean.
For the past three years, Little Tokyo Senior Residents Association (LSTRA) members have made onigiri (Japanese rice balls) for the Little Tokyo Sparkle volunteer lunch. The onigiri team made about 300 onigiri this year. LTSC organizes and supports the LTSRA, which helps represent the interests of senior residents with low incomes in Little Tokyo, while increasing their engagement in relevant issues and civic life.
Participants in LTSC’s intergenerational gardening project
Seniors, youth and other residents of LTSC’s Casa Heiwa affordable housing community in Little Tokyo are making a garden as part of our intergenerational gardening program. This month, participants started work on constructing the garden bed. Eventually, the garden will produce fruits and vegetables and local chefs will hold healthy cooking demonstrations for Casa Heiwa residents. Through the program, LTSC seeks to nurture relationships between seniors and youth, so younger participants can learn from their more experienced cohorts.
The intergenerational gardening program is supported by the NeighborWork’s Community Leadership Institute. Bruce Matsui from the Ecology Center at San Juan Capistrano serves as the program’s volunteer consultant.
Properly dispose of your used batteries.
Thank you to all our supporters for your contributions last month!
May 2018 Donors
Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen
Joon Suk Kim
Yoko and Michael Kuriki
Gary and June Masada
Robert and Teresa Matsushima
Michael and Margie Odanaka
Senshin Buddhist Women’s Association
In Memory of David Miyashita
In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily and Dan Weaver
In Memory of Jiro Takata
Eddie and Karen Takata
Laura Blosser and Chris Argyros
Bea Brown and Chizue Kaku
Scott Ito and Nan Lee
Brent Mori and Jessie Kikuchi
Mike Murase and June Hibino
Al Muratsuchi and Hiroko Higuchi
Perfect Parking, Inc.
Grant Sunoo and Emily Maeda
Eddie and Karen Takata
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc
Bill and Ruth Watanabe Director’s Office Campaign
Eddie and Karen Takata
In Honor of the Ito Family
In Memory of Philip Ito
Steve and Patty Nagano
Adina Mori-Holt and Whitman Holt
Marsha and Gary Watanabe
Linda and Gary Yamauchi