November 2021 Issue
With Thanksgiving coming up this week, LTSC would like to thank all our donors, volunteers, supporters and friends.
We are grateful for your contributions to our community, and together, we are creating positive change!
Donor Wall Installed at Terasaki Budokan
We are excited to announce the installation of the Terasaki Budokan donor wall in the lobby! Our vision for the Budokan would not have been possible without our donors and friends who helped make this dream a reality. We’d also like to give a special shout out to the members of the Vision Fund who supported the project since day one, dating back to 1994.
To ALL our donors and friends, thank you for your generosity and support! Your contributions to Budokan have created a space in Little Tokyo which will benefit multiple generations of our community for years to come. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and visit us!
It’s not too late to support Budokan! Purchase a tile on our Children’s Wall, or inquire about the last few naming opportunities that we still have available! Click the button below to purchase a Children’s Wall Tile or contact Kim Kawasaki (firstname.lastname@example.org new email) to inquire about a naming opportunity.
Intern Spotlight: Patricia Samurra
Meet Patricia Samurra, an intern in our Youth Leadership Pipeline Internship. Patricia is a freshman in high school and has lived at Angelina Apartments with her family her whole life. LTSC recently sat down with Patricia to talk about her experience as one of our first interns in our brand new program aimed at developing 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 because Nancy [Director of Resident Services] reached out to me and told me I would be a perfect candidate for it and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity.
What do you hope to get out of this internship?
I hope to work on my planning and time management skills. I would also like to work with kids and be able to be comfortable around them and talk to them more easily.
What are you most excited about in this internship?
I’m most excited about the learning opportunities for real life possibilities and being able to reflect on these lessons in those situations.
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 to have more of a sense of community- to be able to have more people around you who you can go to if you need help. I hope to be able to be someone people can come talk to and inspire them to do something in their communities.
What are some of your personal goals for the future? How will this internship help you get there?
One of my personal goals is to make it into a good college or university so I can make my family proud and provide for them. I hope that this internship shows me the right way to reach my goal and shape me into the person I want to be.
How has your experience as an intern been thus far?
It’s been pretty amazing so far. It’s been fun getting to know the kids and the other staff. I’ve also loved getting to know them on personal levels and just have a connective bond with each other.
Would you recommend this internship to others?
I recommend this internship to other people because it gives you a sense of what happens in the real world and how you can prepare for it. I also recommend it for the people and close friends you could make while you’re there.
Michelle K. Hanabusa’s We Are Uprisers Prepares to Open Storefront in the Arts District
As part of LTSC’s small business incubation program, Michelle K. Hanabusa launched her first dedicated store space in December 2018 on the historic First Street as a pop-up shop. Now two years later, Uprisers has signed its first long term lease and is preparing to open a storefront retail space in the Arts District of Los Angeles.
A popular online retail brand, Michelle credits her historic Little Tokyo pop-up experience with helping her to recognize the benefits of a physical space rooted in community as well as teaching her how to overcome the many challenges that come with managing a storefront space.
“All the logistics that go into running a store is something I learned about from experience. I had to think about inventory, drawing people into the space when you’re not a major brand and other operations logistics. I love the Little Tokyo community. The amount of support I received during my time at the pop up space, and having the chance to interact and meet new people coming in to learn about UPRISERS… that in person exchange is so valuable,” recalled Michelle.
LTSC’s Japanese/English bilingual small business counselor Mariko Lochridge supported Michelle in getting set up with her downtown LA pop-up. From providing demographics and street traffic information about the neighborhood to introducing her to other small business owners for collaborative activation, Mariko was Michelle’s personal guide into opening a retail store in Little Tokyo.
“For example, I hadn’t thought about being open on New Year’s but when (Mariko) told me it was the busiest day of the year in Little Tokyo I dedicated all of our overstock to the shop that day and did massive discounts so we had a variety of price points throughout the shop,” said Michelle.
At the time of her pop-up shop in 2018, Michelle was in a transitional phase with her business partners.
“They didn’t think the AAPI or JA demographic was big enough. This a clear indication that we were not seeing eye to eye and I knew I had to rewrite my entrepreneurial journey and plans. My experience in Little Tokyo gave me that extra boost of confidence that I can venture off on my own. It allowed me to take the next quarter to reset, regroup, and focus on what I believed I should do moving forward without anyone telling me what to do. I really started to push those narratives rooted in my values and I think that’s what was a really good segue into what I’m doing now. It’s coming more from my passion and what I really care about as opposed to what mainstream was saying about what the youth were attracted to and will make money,” explained Michelle.
Often told that young people just don’t care and value technology over community, Michelle seeks to change that narrative. Collaborating with independent artists, local community groups and historic spaces, UPRISERS’ powerful storytelling and eye-catching visuals caught the attention of mainstream brands like PacSun and Complex, eventually leading to distribution opportunities and limited run releases nation-wide.
Almost two years after Michelle launched in Little Tokyo, LTSC continues to support Michelle’s mission as a community-focused small business owner. From facilitating a historic zine collaboration between 75 year old small business Bunkado and UPRISERS, to assisting Michelle in applying for everything from PUA to the LISC Small Business Resiliency for Entrepreneurs of Color, it’s the goal of LTSC’s small business assistance program to ensure that UPRISERS reaches the legacy small business status in the Japanese American community someday.
Michelle is grateful for Mariko’s support over the years, explaining that “Mariko has helped me tremendously throughout the years. When I first started as an entrepreneur she opened my eyes beyond the e-commerce world to experience a store front opportunity in the heart of Little Tokyo/DTLA (an area I consider my second home). It expanded my vision for where I wanted to take my business moving forward, gain confidence that there are business opportunities outside of Ecom and how to work hand-in-hand with other neighboring small businesses (especially how to support one another and center community). Since then, Mariko has consistently checked in, answered any small business questions I might have had and bridged her connections to explore partnerships and opportunities with other small businesses in the area. The importance of community, collaboration, and supporting local, is something I’ve learned from Mariko and carry this out in my day to day in all aspects for UPRISERS.”
LTSC Appreciates Genesis LA’s Support and Commitment to Community
LTSC would like to give a warm thank you to Genesis for their strong and continued support! Genesis has been a key partner for LTSC, providing crucial loans for many of our real estate development projects from the recently completed Terasaki Budokan, to all of our housing projects currently in development (First Street North Apartments, Crocker Apartments, Santa Monica/Vermont Apartments and 400 Simmons). Their commitment to direct resources to underserved communities enables organizations like LTSC to carry out their missions. We are proud to partner with Genesis and are looking forward to bringing more affordable housing to Los Angeles.
Sustainable Little Tokyo’s Support During Pandemic Helps Mi CASA Helps Students’ Wellbeing
LTSC’s Mi CASA program is grateful for Sustainable Little Tokyo’s commitment to our youth through their continued support throughout the pandemic. What started out as monthly art workshops for families quickly pivoted to weekly virtual workshops for our students when the pandemic hit. The workshops provided our students with a much needed sense of community while also giving them an opportunity to express themselves through art. We want to give a big thank you and shout out to Brittany Ko, the artist who runs the workshops, as well as Scott Oshima and Alma Guzman of Sustainable Little Tokyo.
CT Stream Aims to Make Therapy Accessible for All
Changing Tides (CT) is proud to announce the launch of their new pilot program: CT Stream! CT Stream is a therapy stipend program targeting Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) young adults. CT Stream will offer accessible mental health services to individuals in need by covering the full cost of 6-10 therapy sessions per individual. The program offers a limited number of stipends to recipients in need of non-acute therapy, such as mild to moderate anxiety or depression.
Through CT Stream, we hope to break down common barriers to mental health services like stigma, lack of culturally-sensitive providers, language barriers, and economic instability. With the addition of CT Stream, Changing Tides is excited to take the next step towards mental health equity.
** If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). If you are located outside the United States, call your local emergency line immediately. **
LTSC Supports Caregivers Through Workshops, Support Groups and More
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month! LTSC’s social service department received a 3-year grant to expand existing services related to dementia care, and to raise awareness about the most common form of dementia: Alzheimer’s Disease. LTSC is partnering with Alzheimer’s LA to develop materials and conduct workshops in Japanese, Korean and Mandarin, to provide more culturally sensitive, in-language services to family caregivers in these communities.
If you are a caregiver for a loved one with dementia or would like more information on the disease, here are some free programs we offer:
Caregiver Support Groups
Monthly English-speaking and Japanese-speaking groups are offered, and a Korean-speaking group is on the way. These are currently happening via Zoom with the option to call in by telephone.
Caregiver Training Program
Savvy Caregiver Express is currently offered in English and Mandarin to provide caregiver education. A new program is in the works for Japanese and Korean speakers; sign-up now for more information!
If you’d like to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease or educate yourself on how to better help your loved one, we have a series of helpful workshops in English, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin. Topics include memory loss, staying healthy, home safety and managing behavioral changes. These sessions are also available for large groups (churches, senior centers, etc.) by request.
If you are interested in any of these services, please contact LTSC at (213) 473-3035 for more information.
LTSC’s executive director, Erich Nakano, spoke on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s panel discussion titled, ‘Focusing on AAPI Communities- CRA Banker Roundtable’. The panel featured LTSC and other local community organizations that are working directly with AAPI low- and moderate-income community members and covered how banks can participate in an inclusive post-COVID recovery to help strengthen the economies of these diverse communities.
Help us spread holiday cheer! We’re looking for volunteer holiday helpers to support our food and toy distributions for the families in our affordable housing buildings. Check our Volunteer Match page for upcoming opportunities!
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!
LTSC’s Crocker Apartments project reached a major milestone in securing funding commitments from the City of LA’s affordable housing managed pipeline program and the Housing Authority of the City of LA’s rental subsidy program.
Register Now for Budokan Basketball League!
Winter season registration for the Terasaki Budokan Men’s Basketball Leagues is now open! There is only room for 16 teams, so sign up before the spots are filled! Games will start Sunday, January 9, 2022. Game times will be 6pm-10pm. Visit the Budokan website to register. If you have any questions please email Kim Kawasaki (kkawasaki@LTSC.orgcreate new email)
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.
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