Volunteer Newsletter- Winter 2022 (English) - Little Tokyo Service Center

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Volunteer Newsletter

Winter 2022 Issue

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volunteer newsletter 2022Welcome to the Winter issue of our quarterly volunteer newsletter!

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our clients and residents and positively impacting the community. Volunteers are the heart of our organization and our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Keep reading to see how LTSC volunteers created positive change!

General LTSC Volunteers

Happy New Year to all! LTSC wrapped up the last quarter of 2021 with special holiday events in addition to our regular program work. We received an incredible amount of support from individual volunteers as well as groups like US Bank, Manufacturers Bank, the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), our LTSC board members, Ares Management and the Canadian Consulate! If you are part of a group or organization that would like to volunteer together, please reach out directly to datkinson@ltsc.org.

From October-December 2021, LTSC’s volunteers dedicated a whopping 1,750.35 hours of their time. Thank you for creating positive change!

Navidad En El Barrio

Navidad En El Barrio is an annual event in which nonprofits can purchase “food baskets” at a discounted rate to distribute to members in their community. LTSC usually hosts an event in which residents from our affordable housing buildings are invited to pick up food bags and children get to select a toy. The food basket this year included: frozen chicken, cheese, rice, gold peak iced tea, tomato sauce, 3lb potato bag, 1lb carrot bag, oranges, lemons, snacks (Popcorn, fruit juice boxes), bags of ready made salads, and water bottles.

navidad budokan volunteersNavidad En El Barrio at Budokan had 21 volunteers from US Bank and the Canadian Consulate. They helped over the course of two days to unload the produce delivery for all 120 food baskets, then helped sort and bag items for 70 families (3 bags of produce per family). They also helped with setup, which included decorations and stations for toys, blankets, socks and hygiene items that attendees could choose from.

navidad angelinaAngelina Preschool hosted Navidad En El Barrio for our preschool and FCC children. With the help of our 13 volunteers from Brio College Prep and Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), we were able to put together and provide 50 food baskets! Our wonderful staff and volunteers were able to set up toy stations with festive decor where children were able to excitedly pick out toys themselves to take home and commemorate the moment with a photo!

Terasaki Budokan

Terasaki Budokan is a multipurpose sports and activities center in downtown LA providing youth, families, and seniors with sports leagues, community activities, and opportunities to connect visitors with the Japanese American culture and a vibrant, sustainable Little Tokyo.

Over the past couple of months, Terasaki Budokan has hosted a number of events that couldn’t have been possible without the help of amazing volunteers: the 2nd Annual Terasaki Budokan Golf Tournament, the Resident Services STEM Event in partnership with sySTEM Coalition, the first ever Little Tokyo Flea Market, and installing floor coverings for the gym.

residents partyBudokan was happy to end the year with LTSC’s food and toy drive, Navidad en el Barrio. Volunteers operated three booths distributing fresh foods, personal hygiene products and small clothing items, and toys to residents of LTSC’s affordable housing buildings. The event also featured a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop created by LTSC staff and volunteers, which families could pose in front of for a snowy photoshoot on a warm LA day. Thank you to Navidad en El Barrio volunteers for serving the community and spreading holiday cheer!

Upcoming: Terasaki Budokan will have its Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening on March 12, 2022. More information coming soon!


Mi CASA is LTSC’s free after-school program for youth ages 6 to 18 years old supporting the physical, emotional and social health of youth in Little Tokyo and neighboring communities. 

Our Mi CASA After School Program runs from Monday- Friday from 2:30-5:30pm. We started back up again on January 10th and are looking forward to our expanded sports activities and arts and crafts workshops!

Our ten dedicated volunteers supported 31 youth with our sports activities by setting up equipment and playing sports with the youth, engaged in our workshops with LA Artcore and Sustainable Little Tokyo every week, and provided homework assistance in different subjects like Math, English and Science.

Look out! We are looking for extraordinary volunteers to engage and provide support and mentorship to the youth enrolled in the program. For more information please contact Jacklyn Waight at JWaight@LTSC.org

Mi CASA Sports Fridays is looking for volunteer coaches to help run some sports clinics on Fridays from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. We aim to provide youth with the opportunity and exposure to learning and developing new skills in all kinds of sports. (i.e. Basketball, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Soccer, Dodgeball, Flag Football, etc). If you are interested in supporting our Sports program, please contact Nancy Alcaraz at NAlcaraz@LTSC.org

mi casa kids perform with instruments they made with LA Art core

Resident Services

This holiday season, LTSC was able to conduct 2 holiday parties for residents residing in LTSC’s affordable housing in Little Tokyo and Echo Park. During a time filled with so much uncertainty, LTSC hoped to spread a little holiday cheer to the families, youth, and seniors we serve by celebrating in community. So much work went into making these events possible, and we were extremely happy to have the support of so many wonderful volunteers. With the support of LTSC Board Members and Higashi’s YOLO Zumba Group, we were able to gift wrap over 520 toys to hand out to youth!

resident holiday partyAdditionally, a total of 10 volunteers from Manufacturer’s Bank supported the set-up and clean-up for the event held in Little Tokyo, which catered to 135 residents. They also helped during the event to serve delicious food. Manufacturer’s Bank volunteers graciously provided some goodies that the residents were happy to receive. The event held in Echo Park also had a great turnout with 159 residents! As we continue into what will likely be a long-term health & economic crisis, our youth, families, and seniors need our support now more than ever. Thank you for helping us spread a little holiday cheer and hope this year!

Small Business Assistance

LTSC works with key partners to provide assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in Little Tokyo and throughout Los Angeles County. Small business counselors based at LTSC offer resources for Little Tokyo and Nikkei businesses as well as other small businesses in LA County.

shopping bag graphicOctober-December is a busy holiday shopping season for many of our small business clients. For the 4th year in a row, we collaborated with the Rafu Shimpo to produce the Nikkei Entrepreneur Spotlight Holiday Guide. Our volunteer contributing writer, Mieko Beyer, did the copy edit and interview follow up for the holiday guide for the 4th year in a row. 13 entrepreneurs were featured in the 2021 Nikkei Entrepreneur Spotlight Holiday Guide. Mieko spent 6-8 hours working on the guide with the team at the Rafu Shimpo.

Upcoming: We will be hosting a 12 hour entrepreneur training program in February 2022. 5 clients of our program will be guest speakers for this 6 part training program.

Social Services

Volunteers from Ares Management pose with food deliveryAres Management sponsored and delivered special holiday meals for seniors who live in LTSC’s Little Tokyo buildings. They also sponsored a graduation party for residents phasing out of Kosumosu, LTSC’s transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence. Thank you to the employees of Ares Management for helping us create a positive impact on our community!

Far East Lounge

Far East Lounge (FEL) is a multipurpose gathering space for seniors and others to connect and enjoy activities that promote wellness.

seniors enjoy ping pongFrom October to December 2021, nine FEL class volunteer instructors contributed 251 hours of in-person and virtual social activity classes for our seniors. FEL provided 10 different in-person activity classes at Budokan and one virtual chair exercise class for promoting seniors’ wellness.

Ping-pong is our most popular class and nearly 20 seniors enjoyed playing ping-pong and socializing with others every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Three volunteers helped set up the ping-pong tables before each class and assisted with one-on-one ping-pong sessions for participants. In October, ping-pong class volunteers helped organize a halloween ping-pong tournament. The volunteers incentivized Halloween costumes for an extra point towards the tournament score!

Changing Tides

Changing Tides began in 2017 with a focus to end the stigma surrounding mental health in the Asian American community through outreach, education, and open conversations. 

group photo of CT CrewChanging Tides is incredibly grateful for our volunteers and their huge contribution to our Gratitude Gala on November 28th. 16 volunteers played vital roles in making our event happen. Our hostess went as far as to say it was “the most organized event we have ever hosted,” which is all thanks to our volunteers.

Look out for some big volunteer  opportunities coming up from Changing Tides!

South Bay

Located in Gardena, LTSC’s South Bay Office makes LTSC’s social services accessible to clients in the area, which is home to the largest concentration of Nikkei in the mainland U.S.

The South Bay office has four regular volunteers from Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. They volunteered 107.5 hours of their time answering phone calls and assisting visitors to the South Bay office.

The South Bay office and JCI Gardens office had the help of 6-8 volunteers each month to deliver Food Bank boxes, additional food and antibacterial wipes. Over the last three months, 48 boxes were delivered for clients in the South Bay and 139 boxes were delivered for clients from JCI Gardens.

JCI Gardens

Located in the South Bay, JCI Gardens is an affordable housing community for seniors. 

smartphone imageOur volunteer, Angie O, helped with our smart phone training class for senior residents. The class was held in English, but Angie helped our Korean speaking seniors in language. She was also able to assist some residents with an app they use. She is a great help and the residents love to see her! Thank you!

Nikkei Tomodachi Program (NTP)

nikkei tomodachi programNikkei Tomodachi Program (NTP) is a friendly visitor/caller service for LTSC clients who are socially isolated and/or need extra emotional support through weekly/bi-weekly conversations in Japanese.    

In the last three months, NTP’s 10 experienced, dedicated, and compassionate volunteers put in 240 hours of service, reaching 15 clients. 4 of the volunteers have resumed in-person services. All of NTP’s clients are so delighted!

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in upcoming volunteer opportunities? Check out our profile on Volunteer Match! Opportunities range from one-time event help to providing ongoing support for various programs.

Can’t volunteer, but would still like to support? Your donation creates positive change!

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