October 2021 Issue
LTSC works to create positive change through our wide range of programs and services built to empower those in need. This month, we highlight stories that inspire us and give us hope for the future!
GUESS Highlights LTSC and Little Tokyo Small Businesses
Guess recently featured LTSC and our small business clients as a part of their GUESS Advocacy video series. Watch the video below to see some familiar faces from the community talk about Little Tokyo and the importance of our work! A warm thank you to GUESS, for putting together such a beautiful video!
Intern Spotlight: Kazi “Kazz” Ahmed
Meet Kazi “Kazz” Ahmed, one of the interns in our Youth Leadership Pipeline Internship! Kazz is currently a senior in high school and has been living at Casa Heiwa for the last four and a half years with his family. LTSC recently sat down with Kazz to learn more about his experience as one of the first interns in our brand new internship program aimed to develop leadership skills for the future stakeholders of our community.
How did you find out about this internship? Why did you decide to apply?
I found out about this internship from a flyer that showed up at our door. I applied because I wanted to have some sort of work experience before I graduate from high school.
What do you hope to get out of this internship?
Some learning and work experiences which I hope will help me in the future when I get hired at a place.
What are you most excited about in this internship?
Mainly hosting events and helping out in future events hosted by LTSC.
What are some changes in the community that you hope to see in the future? What impact do you hope to have on the community?
I want more people in the community to participate, like special events, community services, and more. I also want more people from other communities or towns or cities to know about the Little Tokyo Community.
What are some of your personal goals for the future? How will this internship help you get there?
My personal goals for the future is to go to a university from whatever state that accepts me, and my majors that I am into are Business, Marketing and Auto Technicians. I feel like this internship will help me by giving me the experience of work, leadership and creativity.
How has your experience as an intern been thus far?
My experience has been excellent so far and I am looking forward to doing more work!
LTSC Offers Supportive Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence
There are many different forms of abuse: physical, sexual, psychological, and financial. These are only a few examples of what domestic violence survivors experience when they are in an abusive relationship.
A partner uses his/her POWER to gain, exert and maintain CONTROL over his/her partner. Studies indicate that over 90% of abusers are men. Domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence happens in all economic, social, ethnic, racial, educational and religious backgrounds, regardless of sexual orientation. According to Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
LTSC’s Kosumosu program offers supportive services and a transitional shelter for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Recently, thanks to an almost $1M grant from proposition HHH funds, LTSC made upgrades to the Kosumosu facility to improve the quality of life for clients who are temporarily housed there. With October being domestic violence awareness month, we want to highlight one of our clients, Kanako*, whose story of perseverance and growth is an inspiration for us all.
When she moved into Kosumosu — LTSC’s transitional shelter for survivors of domestic violence — Kanako was ready for a fresh start. She told an LTSC social worker, “Every time he yelled that I was useless, threatened to take away my children and pushed me down, I felt numb. I thought shikata ga nai (it can’t be helped)… I didn’t understand that I was a victim of domestic violence.” Originally from Japan, Kanako married her husband, Josh* in the U.S., and soon after they had two children. When Josh had trouble keeping a job, their finances quickly unraveled and the family moved into a homeless shelter. Eventually Josh left the shelter, leaving Kanako to raise their two small children alone.
When Kanako’s case manager at the homeless shelter approached LTSC to inquire about housing, LTSC helped her apply for a unit at Kosumosu. There, Kanako was provided counseling services and educational workshops so she and her children could start healing from their emotional wounds. “Thanks to the counselors and social workers, I now understand how important self-care is,” Kanako reflected. “I also learned that it’s okay to ask for help.” At Kosumosu, staff focus on both the current state of their clients and their long-term well-being. Kanako took advantage of many of the workshops and programs offered; she was able to secure permanent housing for her family and is now gainfully employed.
LTSC empowered Kanako to build a healthy, independent, violence-free life for her and her children, and enabled her to pursue her dream of higher education. Kanako recently completed a college application, writing down her home address for the first time. Such a simple act, but one filled with pride.
Kanako’s story is one of several success stories to come out of our Kosumosu Program. If you do not feel safe in a relationship, please call:
LTSC: 213 473 3035
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 799 7233
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1 800 656 4673
*Names in the article have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by Supporting Our Amazing Partners
LTSC is grateful to partner with some amazing Hispanic/Latinx organizations to collectively uplift communities of color. Though Hispanic Heritage Month has come to an end, we encourage you to support and learn more about the impactful work our community partners do for their communities below!
LTSC’s Mental Health Services Provide a Lifeline to Those in Need
Written by Keiro: https://www.keiro.org/features/ltsc-mental-health-support)
Mental health support can come in many forms. Counseling services and medication are the most common, but other types of support services can ease mental health symptoms as well. As part of the Keiro-Little Tokyo Service Center Partnership Initiative, Keiro subsidizes funding for LTSC’s critically needed mental health services for Japanese and Japanese American older adults who have limited financial resources.
Sakura*, a LTSC client, shared her experience of how mental health counseling and other services helped her manage several serious mental and physical health issues.
TW// This story contains themes related to suicidal thoughts
Sakura was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. When she received the initial diagnosis, she didn’t even think about the possibility of death. But as she underwent tests, surgery, and other treatment, she found out her cancer was much worse than she realized – she had stage IV cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes and her bones. Eventually, Sakura went into remission, but she continued to face effects from the cancer treatment. Three years after her diagnosis, she became paralyzed in the lower half of her body due to the radiotherapy treatment.
As she was finishing cancer treatment, Sakura began experiencing anxiety, particularly around her fear of death. Her symptoms seemed to worsen daily, and she developed a severe anxiety disorder in 2018. She was prescribed medication for the anxiety, but was concerned that she would become dependent and wanted to try psychotherapy. Around that time, Sakura learned about LTSC’s mental health counseling services.
“I was quite desperate for help,” Sakura explained. “So I had no hesitation. It was such an incredible help to be able to speak to someone in Japanese.” Ever since then, Sakura has been working with an LTSC social worker, Namiko Chinen, to find strategies to resolve her anxiety through psychotherapy. This ongoing therapy service has been invaluable to Sakura as she faced further health challenges.
In addition to anxiety, Sakura’s journey with cancer brought other challenges for her, including pain arising from postoperative syndrome and the cost she incurred from emergency hospitalizations. While it has been incredibly daunting, Sakura’s strength has helped her face these challenges, one by one, with support from multiple programs offered by Keiro and LTSC.
When Sakura began experiencing postoperative syndrome symptoms, Namiko suggested she enroll in Keiro’s Iyashi Care program. With the palliative care she received from the Iyashi Care team she has been able to manage her pain symptoms and other health issues that have come up. In March 2020, Sakura began suffering from spinal cord damage, an after-effect of the past cancer treatment. In addition to the immense pain, she was suddenly unable to walk, and she went to the hospital for treatment and then was sent to a nursing home to recuperate before being discharged to go home. The unexpected costs she incurred for her hospitalization, as well as the caregiving services needed upon return to her own home, were covered in part by Keiro and LTSC’s Client Assistance Fund. Sakura has also been receiving low-cost delivered meals from the Little Tokyo Eats program.
For over two and a half years, Sakura faced many ups and downs in her physical health as well as her mental health. Despite these challenges, Sakura persevered through her tremendous strength and determination, with support from Namiko.
“Due to my anxiety symptoms, I felt terrified every day of dying,” Sakura explained. “And when half of my body became paralyzed, my perspective changed. It might have also been the side effects from the steroid I was taking which helped me through the hospitalization. But once I stopped using this, I suddenly became depressed, and I just wanted to die. I found myself thinking that if I had a gun, I could probably kill myself. Mental illness is truly terrifying. It’s hard to explain in words, but it’s as if you’re being chased by something… it’s a crazy feeling you get. This feeling of oppression, bearing down on you. Something that gushes towards you. It’s a dreadful thing.”
Through coordination with LTSC social services and with the support of several Keiro and LTSC programs, Sakura continues to courageously face her challenges. Namiko feels encouraged by her strength. “You get people who can’t go on and who want to just curl up and hide, but Sakura has overcome two major challenges in the span of just three years. She is a person with core mental strength. I’ve really only helped her in the smallest of ways.”
Sakura shared, “I have received so much support from LTSC and Keiro, and everyone I have met has been absolutely wonderful. It’s unfortunate that I have had many painful and regrettable experiences with my cancer treatment, but I’ve been astounded by how wonderful the people at Iyashi Care and those who have supported my mental health have been.”
Sakura believes that mental health is just as important as physical health, and people should not be afraid to accept help. “It feels as if she [Namiko] held my hand tightly and pulled me up from the edge of a cliff. I didn’t believe that this awful situation could change, but some things have indeed changed. I have been helped in so many ways by counseling, social services, and the support of Iyashi Care. To those who are doubtful about mental health counseling or other support services, it’s worth giving it a try.”
*The client’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Vaccine Mandate Updates for LA County and City
Thai CDC (a community partner of LTSC) hosted a vaccination clinic at Palm Village, a LTSC senior affordable housing community. The clinic was a success, administering third doses and booster shots for 40 seniors. Staff from Thai CDC provided language support in Thai and Spanish.
With tax season right around the corner, LTSC teamed up with Akemi Kondo Dalvi of Kondo Wealth Advisors to share how charitable contributions can positively impact your taxes. If you missed our webinar and want to learn more about how to take advantage of your charitable donations, click here to access the recording of our webinar!
Daimaru is now leasing rooms! Located on First St. in the heart of Little Tokyo, across the street from the Japanese Village Plaza, Daimaru is walking distance from restaurants, nightlife, public transportation and more. For more information, click here to visit the Daimaru website!
Earlier this month, Terasaki Budokan hosted Councilmember Kevin de León for his State of the District address. Attended by community members and his constituents, the councilmember highlighted the efforts of various community partners who have made an impact throughout the course of the pandemic. The full State of the District can be viewed online by clicking HERE.
Translated 2020 Annual Report
The client impact stories from our 2020 Annual Report are now available in Japanese, Korean and Spanish! Click here to access our translated annual report.
LTSC social workers recently participated in a 9-hour training focused on motivational interviewing and de-escalation. They learned ways to foster communication with active listening and compassionate empathy. The practical skills they learned increased their expertise and will help them as they meet the evolving needs of clients.
For more articles and news stories featuring LTSC, visit the “In the News” section of our website.
Thank you to all of our wonderful donors and supporters.
Our work isn’t possible without you!
Maximize your impact with a recurring monthly gift! No matter the size, your gift creates positive change in the lives of our clients and in our community. Monthly giving lets LTSC flexibly address the most pressing needs first, whether it’s mental health support for teens, food security for seniors, or rental assistance for families. Your support is critical to our success!
Here are some examples of how your gift can uplift those in need:
Samantha de Castro
Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen
The Paul S. Honda Foundation
Dick and Pauline Kaku
Gregory Kubo and Alyson Mizuno-Kubo
Morley and Sue Matsuda
Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira
Bob and Teresa Matsushima
Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing
Mike Murase and June Hibino
Roy and Setsuko Nakahara
Erich Nakano and Sandra Viera
John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto
PayPal Giving Fund
Glenn and Donna Sanada
Margaret and Ken Shimada
Jeanne and William Stevenson
Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda
Kelly and Rintaro Takasu
Raymond and Janice Waldorf
Marsha and Gary Watanabe
Lesley and Russell Wong
Gordon and Massumi Yamamoto
In Honor of Adalyn, Warren, and Elliot
In Honor of Evelyn Yoshimura’s service to LTSC
In Memory of May and Al Arakaki
In Memory of Toki Hirai
In Memory of William Ishibashi
In Memory of David Y. Miyashita
Marivic A. Miyashita
In Memory of Stan Nakao
In Memory of S. Stephen & Sally Nakashima
In Memory of Jeannette Kyoko Sanderson
Emily and Dan Weaver
In Memory of Kiyoshi and Chieko Shimokaji
In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Harry B. Takeuchi
In Memory of May Tanaka
Linda and Gary Yamauchi
Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki
Jason and Rachelle Samson
Sugimoto Family Foundation: George, Ruri, Lisa, Nathan
Rudelle and Kenneth Tan
Leonard and Marsha Young
Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts
In Memory of May Tanaka
In Memory of Sueko Nagata Okeya
Rob and Peggy Yamamoto
Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M)
Be The Match Foundation
Diana and Yoshi Matsushima
Marsha and Gary Watanabe