LTSCene – September 2021 - Little Tokyo Service Center

Little Tokyo Service Center logo

LTSCene Monthly Newsletter

September 2021 Issue

Title: September LTSCene: Empowering our communityAt LTSC, we believe in empowering our community by providing resources and educational opportunities for community members. Contributions from the greater Little Tokyo community as well as our donors and volunteers make it possible to carry out our mission.

title text: youth leadership pipeline internship

New Mi CASA Internship Program Aims to Develop Next Generation of Community Leaders

Mi Casa students and internsFor over 20 years, LTSC’s Resident Services department has provided after-school programming for youth living in LTSC’s affordable housing buildings.  Thanks to a grant from the California Community Foundation, the resident services team was able to expand the program and pilot a new youth leadership program for our high school students. 

“The Youth Leadership Pipeline Internship program is an opportunity to empower our youth to become strong, vocal, and active members of their community,” explained Nancy Alcaraz, Director of Resident Services at LTSC. “We support our youth interns in becoming compassionate leaders through positive engagement that leads to increased self-efficacy and the development of skills needed to succeed in adulthood.”

The 10 month program will require interns to put in a minimum of 5 hours each week, with duties ranging from developing and implementing curricula for youth in LTSC’s Mi CASA program, partnering with local organizations to produce workshops/activities, and providing other administrative support as needed.  The interns will also receive a stipend each month, as well as leadership training through the NeighborWorks Training Institute.

Most importantly, the interns will serve as role models for youth in the community. “We work to show them the leader that’s already within them and further develop the skills needed for them to be courageous, bold leaders,” said Jackie Waight, Youth Service Coordinator at LTSC. “The internship program supports LTSC youth to rise against the challenges they face by empowering them through skill development, encouraging curiosity, connecting with their community, and leading with their values.” 

LTSC strives to empower the next generation of leaders to nurture their physical, emotional, and mental health, and be active members in society who create positive change in their community.

title text: volunteer highlight
An Interview with Little Tokyo Small Business Volunteer May Zeng

Meet May Zeng, a LTSC small business volunteer who helped Far Bar and Sake Dojo with their marketing efforts during the pandemic.  Along with her teammate, Mick Trinidad, the two worked on both print and digital campaigns to showcase the business’ stories.  Thanks to volunteers like May, Little Tokyo small business owners were able to adapt and grow their online presence during the pandemic.

volunteers at sake dojo

Volunteers pick up food from Sake Dojo for LT Eats

How long have you been volunteering with Far Bar & Sake Dojo? What inspired you to get involved?

I started volunteering in May 2020. I heard about the LTSC volunteering program through my good friend, Kathy Pham, who was volunteering with Suehiro. I was laid off from my marketing job at a film studio in March 2020 and wanted to use my skills to help the community while also getting more hands-on experience. I have been active with East West Players over the years, and have been to many a closing party at Far Bar (in fact, the last packed bar I went to before the shutdown was Far Bar, after the first and only preview of EWP’s Assassins before the production had to close), so it was a business that I was both familiar with and a fan of.

How have you been helping Far Bar & Sake Dojo? What has your experience been like working with them?

I’ve learned a lot about the community from working with LTSC and Don Tahara (the Sake Dojo & Far Bar owner). My volunteering partner Mick Trinidad comes from a different marketing background than me, so I also learned a lot from working with him, as well as from the volunteers from the other businesses. I started with a Father’s Day campaign on social and print featuring Don and Jill and their real-life story of working at the restaurants as a father-daughter duo, and then helped with the 2020 Nisei Week fundraiser digital campaign that highlighted the legacy businesses’ history.

What are some highlights from your time as a volunteer with Far Bar & Sake Dojo? What keeps you coming back?

I’m always learning something new! Either something really cool and smart about the food and drink business from Don, Jill, Jesse (the bar manager at Far Bar) and Andrea of Edibol, who’s been partnering with Sake Dojo, or something touching about the interconnections of all the Little Tokyo community members, or something new and creative about the current social media/marketing landscape from the other volunteers.

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering with LTSC?

There are a lot of different ways to get involved!

title text: wells fargo foundationA Special Thank You to the Wells Fargo Foundation

wells fargo logoLTSC would like to thank the Wells Fargo Foundation for supporting our efforts to build affordable housing in Los Angeles. We have over 600 units in our housing pipeline that will provide families, seniors and veterans new affordable housing with services and amenities that will help them thrive. Last year the Wells Fargo Foundation supported our COVID-19 relief efforts and this year is helping us get back to work on our core mission of providing housing to those in need in LA. Thank you Wells Fargo Foundation for your continuing support.

title text: california recall election workshop
LTSC Hosts Voter Education Workshop for Seniors

seniors at voting workshopNavigating voter information can be a tricky process for everybody, especially those who don’t primarily speak English. LTSC’s social services department hosts voter education workshops for seniors at Little Tokyo Towers every election, with materials in multiple languages. Topics covered include: key points of major propositions, candidate platforms and updates to voting systems (like new voting kiosks, ballot drop off boxes, etc).  Since the recent gubernatorial recall election was uncommon and was accompanied by an unfamiliar ballot, it was important to make sure the seniors knew what they were voting for and how to correctly cast their votes.  The recall election workshop was led by Yasue Katuragi, a community organizer at LTSC, and was conducted in English, Japanese and Korean.  By offering accessible voter education, LTSC empowers seniors to fulfill their civic duty.

title text: community spotlightLTSC Youth Supported by Changing the Community Together and the YOLO Ladies

group photo of changing the community togetherAs kids head back to school, we’d like to say a BIG thank you to two groups that have continuously supported LTSC’s youth with donations of back to school supplies. 

Changing the Community Together (CCT), a youth basketball group, has supported LTSC since 2014. They pivoted from their traditional pre-pandemic basketball clinic and school supply drive to instead donate over 2,000 canned goods to LTSC’s food pantry along with backpacks for our youth. 

Another group that continues to support LTSC’s  youth are the ‘YOLO Ladies’ – a Zumba group from nearby Higashi Honganji Temple. These women have supported LTSC for the past 4 years, donating school supplies and backpacks to LTSC youth in need. They’ve also donated holiday gifts for the teens and seniors in our buildings, who are often overlooked by toy drives.

Thank you to CCT and the YOLO Ladies for your generous and continued support. You truly make a difference in the lives of our residents!

yolo ladies

title text: vaccine informationThird Doses and Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Available to Select Groups

syringe and vaccine graphic

Third Doses

LA County is now giving third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people who qualify due to their serious illness. If you qualify, you can get the third dose at least 28 days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 


Booster Shots

LA County is now offering booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine to people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and are either: 

  •  65 years or older 
  • Residents of long-term care facilities 
  • 18 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions 
  • 18 to 64 years with high institutional or occupational risk. This includes healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers, and workers in homeless shelters and prisons


What to Know: 

  • Boosters are currently only available to people who received the Pfizer vaccine. We are still waiting for the FDA to review data about boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to make sure they are safe and necessary. 
  • Booster doses are common for many vaccines. Data shows that protection against COVID-19 might get weaker over time after vaccination. Boosters help make sure protection against COVID-19 lasts as long as possible. 
  • All vaccines continue to offer strong protection against getting really sick or dying from COVID-19.  
  • You can get a booster dose at any site offering the Pfizer vaccine in LA County. This includes your local pharmacy, clinics, places of worship, hospitals, and other sites near you. 
  • Vaccines and booster doses are always free. You will not be asked about immigration status. 

header text "quick updates"

build up CA logoLTSC Executive Director Speaks on Panel

This month, LTSC’s Executive Director, Erich Nakano, spoke on Build Up California’s panel, ‘Developers Roundtable: Integrating Child Care into Housing and Other Community Facilities’. Erich offered insight into LTSC’s integrated child care programs offered at our buildings.




picture from summertime in little tokyo eventCommunity Action Team Hosts Event Celebrating Resident Artists

The Community Action Team (a team of residents representing LTSC buildings in Little Tokyo) organized and hosted their first event, ‘Summertime in Little Tokyo’. They invited neighbors for a night of food, fun and games as they celebrated the resident artists who helped create the new window art displayed at Budokan.




daimaruDaimaru Now Leasing

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!




budokan gymnasiumBasketball Leagues at Terasaki Budokan

Basketball leagues at Terasaki Budokan will be starting up next month! Register your team by October 12 to participate in the upcoming Fall ’21 Season. The 8 week season will run from October 17 to December 19.  Click here for more info and register today!




j town taiko flierJ-Town Taiko Club at Terasaki Budokan

Budokan is excited to announce a new program – taiko drumming! This club is for all skill levels and ages. The J-Town Taiko Club will practice once weekly and perform twice annually. Drums and equipment are provided and classes will be facilitated by Maceo Hernandez and Walter Nishinaka.  Class spots for this month have sold out, but check the Terasaki Budokan website for updates!

title text: upcoming events

Get the Most Out of Your Charitable Giving- Tax Benefits for Every Donor

KWA Workshop flyerFeel good about making a charitable gift this year! As this year comes to a close, LTSC partnered with Akemi Kondo Dalvi (CPA/PFS, CFP®) of Kondo Wealth Advisors to put together a FREE financial education workshop to help donors get the most out of their charitable giving. Join us on Zoom on Wednesday, October 6th, from 10AM to 11AM to learn how your charitable gift can benefit both you and your community! This webinar is FREE and will cover tax benefits for taxpayers of ALL giving levels.

Charitable giving can fulfill your philanthropic commitments and provide you tax savings at the same time! 

  • You don’t have to be wealthy to make a charitable gift. Take advantage of the special 2021 opportunities, even if you take the standard deduction.
  • Is your Required Minimum Distribution increasing your tax liability? Satisfy your RMD while creating a tax-free benefit for your favorite nonprofit.
  • Selling your home or highly-appreciated asset can be a tax nightmare. Reduce the tax liability using sophisticated tax strategies.

2nd Annual Terasaki Budokan Golf Tournament

Terasaki Budokan Golf FlyerJoin us for our second annual Terasaki Budokan Golf Tournament. Proceeds from this event will go towards Terasaki Budokan. Our mission is to provide a facility in Downtown Los Angeles for youth, families, and seniors that offers sports, community activities and opportunities to connect visitors to Japanese American culture and to a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo.

Deadline to Sign Up: October 31, 2021

*If for any reason, you are unable to attend or the tournament is cancelled, you will receive your full refund.

your donation makes a difference

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:

button for 50$ a month donation

button for 25$ a month donation

button for 10$ a month donation

August 2021 Donors

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

AAPI SoCal, Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe Fundraiser 

Sidra Ahmad 

Janee Allsman

Anonymous (21)

Dennis Arguelles

Atsushi Ashizawa

Jim and Elena Azama

The Boeing Company

Alicia Burr

Elizabeth Burton

Ben Chida

Deborah Ching and Mark Mayeda

Wyndham Ciao

Consulate General of Japan

Samantha de Castro

Jeffrey and Lorraine Dohzen

Kaitlin Duchene

Eagle, Globerman and Kodama Foundation

Edison International

Glenn Hamanaka

Mark Hirai

Adele Elliott

John English

Dante Federici

Susan Fujisaki

Robert Guffin

Lisa Hasegawa

Kerin Higa

Mimi Ho

Meghan Holtan

Yuko Howes

Suzie Hsi

Junko Ikeda

Kenichi Inouye

Bruce Iwasaki and Evelyn Yoshimura

Hisamori Iwashita

Young Jeung

Dick and Pauline Kaku

Minao and Meera Kamegai

Suzy Katsuda

Rosalyn Kawahira

James Kim

Carolyn Kobayashi

Kathleen Kubota

J.M. Kurihara

N.S. Kurihara-Johnson

Albert Kwong and Carol Takamatsu-Kwong

Oliver Lee

Nicole Lopez and Ryan Connolly

Lori Magallanes

Susan Maki

Cynthia Masada

Gary and June Masada

Virginia Mascardo

Charlotte and Vince Matsudaira

Emily Matsumura

Judd Matsunaga

Bob and Teresa Matsushima

Microsoft Rewards / Give with Bing

Claudia Miller

Evelyn Mitarai

Mitsugi Miyakawa

Sandie and Dean Mochinaga

Terrie Monaghan and Brian Coleman

MUFG Union Bank

Mike Murase and June Hibino

Tak and Grace Murase

Nicole Murph

Erica Namba

Daryl Narimatsu

Stacy Nii-Eastly and John Eastly

Amy Niwa

Lily Ohara

John Okita and Michiko Yamamoto

Aileen Omura

Oomasa Restaurant

Susan Osa

Janice Osumi

Ann Otoide

Hea Kyung Pae

PayPal Giving Fund


Miyako Phillips

Iryll Robbins-Umel

David Sakamoto

Kitty Sankey

Diane Shigekawa

Margaret and Ken Shimada

Bruce and Diane Shimano

Hiroko Shimizu

Joe Soong


Grant Sunoo and Emily Mayeda

Michael Suzuki

Esther Taira

Kelly and Rintaro Takasu

Eddie and Karen Takata

Yuka Takeuchi

Bessie Tanaka

George Tanaka

Stacey Tanaka

Diana Tani

Chelle Tateishi

Roy and Terry Tekawa

Terasaki Nibei Foundation


Carole and Howard Tsujimura

Deborah Turner

Keith Umemoto

Walt Disney Company

Jin Wang 

Henry and Carolyn Watanabe

Marsha and Gary Watanabe

Margot Wohl

Lesley and Russell Wong

Ken and Sandy Yamashiro

Michael and Lilly Yanagita

Carolyn Yatomi

Catherine Yen

Linda Yokoyama

Robert and Yukiko Yokoyama

Julie and Terry Yoneda

Tribute Gifts

Heather Blais-Pickering’s Facebook Birthday Fundraiser

Heather Blais-Pickering

Danielle Lynn

Tanya Messmer

JoAnne Nakamura


Jessica Chang’s Facebook Birthday Fundraiser

Angeline Angie

Earl Baylon

Jessica Chang

Jim Nguyen

Jimmy Pham

James Shih


In Honor of LTSC Staff 

Nan Senzaki


In Honor of Dr. Mitch Maki and the Staff of Go For Broke National Education Center

Yoshio C. Nakamura


Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Toki Hirai



In Memory of Hiroshi E. Hishiki

Cynthia Abrams


In Memory of William Ishibashi



In Memory of Robert Kikkawa

Michie Kimizuka


In Memory of Henry Minami

Janet Minami


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 Song

Carolyn and Mak Okuno


In Memory of Fred Speciale

Suzy Katsuda


Terasaki Budokan

Akemi Arakaki and Takao Suzuki

Karina Fernandez

Akira Fujimoto

Tamotsu Tom Ito

Ron K Kato

Tricia Liu

Don Matsumoto

Kenyon Mayeda and I-Wen Lai

Susan Omori

Jason and Rachelle Samson

Gregg Suzukawa

Loana Valencia

Marsha and Gary Watanabe

Brett and Susan Yoshimura

Jayne and Gideon Young Family


Terasaki Budokan Memorial Gifts

In Memory of Robert Osami Kikkawa


Judith Ogura Fujimoto and Gilbert Fujimoto


In Memory of Dean Matsubayashi

Dee Montealvo


In Memory of Sueko Nagata Okeya

Rob and Peggy Yamamoto


Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches (A3M)

Anita and Fred Alamshaw




In-kind Donations


Ruby Chan

Alan and Sandra Kosaka

Virginia Minami


Vehicle Donations

Randy and Staci Momii

Accessibility Tools