May 6, 2016

What’s New

Mihae Jung Named WPI-County Fellow

KYCC Prevention Education Manager Mihae Jung was named a 2016 Women’s Policy Institute County Fellow. One of 25 selected fellows, Jung is a member of the Los Angeles County – Health Team. The fellowship is from the Women’s Foundation of California. Congratulations Mihae!

Read more.

KYCC Hosts “Menlo Family Night”

On March 18, KYCC’s Menlo Family Center hosted “Menlo Family Night,” a family-friendly event that promoted healthy parent-child relationships and strong families. Over 80 children and their families attended, getting to know neighbors and staff at the Menlo Family Apartments, while learning about KYCC’s services and other community resources.

Read more. 

CoPalm Holds Forum on Alcohol Outlet Density in Boyle Heights


On April 21, the Coalition to Prevent Alcohol-Related Harms in LA Metro (CoPalm) hosted a community forum, “Boyle Heights: Not One More Liquor Store,” at the Resurrection Church in Los Angeles. Over 60 people attended the event to discuss substance abuse prevention and control, in an effort to reduce alcohol-related crimes in the L.A. Metro area.

Read more.

KYCC Teams Up with BOE for Free Tax Assistance

On April 9, the California Board of Equalization (BOE) hosted a Community Tax and Family Resource Fair at West Los Angeles College. Volunteers from the BOE, Franchise Tax Board and community partners—including KYCC’s Community Economic Development unit— helped over 50 residents file their income tax returns. BOE Chair Jerome Horton and California State Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, gave opening remarks for the family financial event.

Read more.

KYCC Discusses “The Color of Wealth” Special Report

KYCC Community Economic Development (CED) Manager Rick Kim spoke about providing services to communities of color at the launch of special report, “The Color of Wealth,” a joint publication of Duke University, UCLA, The New School, and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, on March 10 at the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Read More.

Peer Recognitions

Grace Park

You are the definition of an amazing co-worker! You are beyond helpful, kind, dedicated, and an all around great person. I cannot thank you enough for always helping me, our interns, and anyone who needs your advice. Thank you for all of the support you continue to give me – We are so lucky to have you!

-Cristina Zuñiga

Gennesis Lopez
Prevention Education

Whenever I visit Wilton, Gennesis is always smiling and seems genuinely happy to see me (maybe she breaks a lot of things and doesn’t want me to get mad at her…???). Her cheery smiley attitude always makes my Wilton visit start on a positive note. That’s why the first thing I do when I go to Wilton is to stop into the office to see the PE staff!!

-Byron Shinyama

Although Gennesis is usually giving me a hard time and making jokes at my expense, I wanted to recognize her for really stepping up and making herself an undeniable candidate for CPS big boss. Despite not having a coordinator for many months now, she’s not only been able to continue to dedicate herself to her work, but she’s really grown and matured greatly in a very short time. Although she was interviewed by five managers, Gennesis remained cool and collected, and her responses to tough questions showed her ability to think outside of her program while also being humble about herself. After her interview there was no discussion as we were all confident that she will make a great CPS Coordinator. I could tell from the get-go that she is a very ambitious and talented young woman and I’m excited to see her grow at KYCC. Congratulations to Gennesis on her promotion!

-Ernie Yoshikawa

Joanne Kim

Joanne, you are one of the humblest persons I have ever met. I love working with you. You are so respectful and intentional in everything that you do. You also do an EXCELLENT job at what you do. I always look forward to working with you. Keep up the good work!

-Angela Jeong

Miguel Lopez

Miguel is the Superman at the Wilton Site. If there is something that needs to be addressed, Miguel takes care of it. Miguel goes beyond to make the Wilton site approachable not only to staff, but to everyone.

-Luke Park

Heather Jun

When you walk into Wilton, you might suddenly feel at ease or less stressed or generally happier than you were just moments before. The energy there is light and welcoming— fun even —and that is in large part because of the wonderful Heather Jun. She is a constant source of positive warmth and energy, and she shares that with anyone and everyone around her. Parents, children and coworkers immediately love her because she listens to understand and is always eager to learn new things from whomever she’s talking to. It amazes me still how she keeps the smiles on children’s faces until every last one is picked up each night.

Heather, you create so many happy memories for the community and staff at KYCC. Thank you. I appreciate you!

-Paula Escobar

Heather is insanely positive and her can-do attitude inspires me to get going everyday. She is honest, authentic, and so open to let her true self shine. Great energy all around!

-Mihae Jung

HaRi Kim
Prevention Education

English is my second language and it is hard sometimes trying to choose the right words and to pronounce things right. I know that in my job I need to be able to talk to people in English too, so when I was looking to learn English, HaRi volunteered to do it for free. I want to recognize HaRi Kim for coming to work early and using her personal time to help me with my English. She has been so patient and she has taught me a lot.

Thank you HaRi for being so nice.

-Andy Kim

Vince Leus
Prevention Education

Vince is one of the reasons KYCC is such a great place to work. Connecting with people who are passionate about the work they do, the community they serve, and the people who work with them is what makes coming to work a treat.
Not a lot of staff would know this, but Vince won’t stop talking about KYCC. Apparently, he’s been promoting our agency to people he meets, whether meeting them for work or not, and we keep getting great candidates through his efforts (like HaRi)! He does this not because he wants recognition, but because he loves being a part of KYCC and our services to the community. Thanks, Vince, for being someone who exemplifies how KYCC should be represented, within our agency and beyond!

-Ashley Kim

May Kim

From January to April, hundred of working families in Koreatown call or visit KYCC’s KOA office to inquire about our community tax program. What you may not realize is that Ms. May is the gatekeeper to all of them–providing the highest quality customer service—with a smile and eagerness to help.

Her contribution to the tax program ensures families are well informed before attending their appointment on what to bring and what to expect—so their experience with KYCC is positive from start to end.

I am pleased to nominate Ms. May Kim for the peer recognition award. On behalf of the CED team, I would like to recognize her contributions and thank her for her willingness to support our families in need.

Thank you, Ms. May Kim!

-Audrey Casillas

New Hires

Yancy Maravilla
Prevention Education – Community Organizer

Yancy Maravilla started working as part-time Receptionist and part-time Community Organizer on April 1. She also helps with the pickup of the kids from the ETP program. She loves to cook and in her free time, you will catch her watching Disney movies with her youngest…I think she enjoys them more than her daughter does!

Carmen Mestas
Prevention Education – Community Organizer

Carmen started as a Community Organizer in the PE unit on April 1. After living in Davis for five years and graduating from college, she moved back to Koreatown. She likes to draw, read, go to the movies occasionally, try new food and explore the city of L.A. during her free time. Carmen is hoping to learn Sign Language and Korean soon.

Ruben José Aranda
Environmental Services – Streets Beautification Specialist & Coordinator

Ruben José began his career as a Streets Beautification Specialist & Coordinator with ES in February 2016. Before joining KYCC, he worked as an educator at various language institutes throughout South America and most recently as an English Instructor with Pepperdine University and Marymount California University through Kings Education, a U.K.-based academy.

Being given the opportunity to teach and travel abroad, Ruben José considers the best education for a wanderlust individual is a well-worn passport and a willingness for adventure beyond the conventional. He spends his free time visiting museums, playing basketball or wresting with his dog, a hyperactive, uber-cute Terrier.

Looking ahead to the next destination, Ruben José has set his sights on a lifelong dream to live in Havana, Cuba, wishing to capture the essence of its colonial antiquity and historical significance in the modern era.


Carlos De Santiago
Youth Services – Lead GRYD Case Manager

As I think about my upcoming departure from the agency, it is natural for me to reflect on all of the good memories I have had here at KYCC (and there have been many!).  From my first All-Staff at Shatto Lanes, I felt that there was something unique about this agency…it felt like a family! Throughout my tenure here, I have been fortunate enough to meet the many faces that make this agency great.  I would like to thank all of you for taking time to educate me on your respective programs and for constantly reminding me of the importance of serving the community.

I am eternally grateful to the many families that have allowed me to enter their lives and for teaching me the true definition of resilience. I am also thankful for the opportunity to meet the many youth struggling to find their way in this world; I will miss them the most. Overall, I’m going to miss all of the little things that made my job great, even the beeping sound of the water dispenser that is always eager to be replenished. Special recognition goes out to my colleagues at Menlo; they would be the first people to tell you how obnoxious I’ve been over the past month. Thank you for putting up with my shenanigans.

The fact is that the decision to move on was not an easy one and not one I took lightly. As with any tough decision, there is a sense of sadness about leaving but at the same time, there is a sense of growth and culmination. I wish the agency nothing but continued growth and success. Thank you for the memories KYCC, I will definitely keep in touch!

P.S. A special shout out to the brave souls that make up our KYCC Softball Team—what we lack in equipment, athletic ability, and overall sense of softball…we more than make up for in personality, toughness and overall awesomeness! Thank you for making it fun.

Employee Spotlight

Brenda Ramos
Environmental Services  – Office Manager

Please Tell Me About Yourself?
My name is Brenda Ramos. I am 31 years old with two amazing boys. I started working at KYCC when I was 17 years old as an intern for AmeriCorps, and before my 18th birthday, I joined the KYCC family as a full-time staff.  Six months later I was promoted to become the ES Office Manager. ~wow how time has passed~

What do you love the most about your job?
How I’m able to help connect our clients with the right services they need to help them beautify their communities.

What inspires you to do the work you do?
Seeing how the ES department works as a team to beautify the community that we serve. I love the fact that we are able to make a difference for the families and teach them to care more about the environment.

What is your fondest memory to date of your time at KYCC?
When I get to see the kids’ faces with big smiles as they receive gifts from Santa at our Holiday Carnival. To me, that’s priceless.

As Office Manager to ES, what would you consider your highest accomplishment thus far?
My highest accomplishment was attending college after work to help me better myself and become a better staff.

Do you consider KYCC a special place if so, why?
KYCC is a special place for me because it has seen me grow as a person and as a staff member. It has given me so many opportunities to help me grow as an individual, both in my work and personal life. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to work here with great people. We all make a difference.

Volunteer Spotlight

Jenny Kim
Kids Town Volunteer

Please Tell Me about Yourself ?
My English name is Jenny, and my Korean name is Chang Jung Soon. My birthday is December 26, 1952. My hometown is in Korea, and I live in Koreatown now. I am the fifth daughter, right in the middle of my sibilings. I have a daughter and a son and two grandchildren. I’ve been with KYCC for three years and four months. Wow. The time has passed by so quickly.

What are your thoughts on Koreatown?
I wish there were more places like KYCC in Koreatown, where kids can freely play and grow. Though other cities and places have these resources, I feel that Koreatown is lacking in these areas. Even though there are parks here and there, I don’t really like them. I wish the parks were bigger, grander, and more of a place where kids can freely play, breathe and release all their stress. Many kids here live in apartments where there are no backyards to play in.

Where is your favorite place in Koreatown…and why?
I would have to say CGV Plaza is a place I really like to go to. I go with my family many times – I often take my grandchildren there. We meet and eat there, watch a movie, and go to the bakery that’s nearby.

What’s your first memory of Wilton or KYCC?
My first day here was during winter vacation. I was told to teach art to the kids. With the CDs that Wilton had, I made a sample puppet with the CD as a head and a stick as the body. I drew the face on the CD, used a balloon as the nose, and put “hair” on the head with yarn. The kids blew my expectations away and made something so beautiful. Seeing their amazing projects made my heart race. One kindergartener even used the yarn that was usually used as hair to wrap the stick to make a fuller body. I came to realize that kids are so creative. I heard that the time when kids are the most creative is when they are four or five years old. Every time these kids make something, I can see that kids are so creative, and I’m so happy to see each unique work and peek into their imaginative minds.

That same day, I wrote “KYCC Winter Wonderland” on the whiteboard and had the kids draw something on the board. Looking at each drawing that the kids drew made me so joyful. I still keep a lot of the kids’ work that they don’t take home. One day, I would love to put together a book of the children’s work and highlight the uniqueness of each child.  But I’m so much older now, I don’t know. But I do have many of their works.

What do you think makes KYCC /KYCC staff special?
KYCC staff is so nice. Everybody is always smiling, welcoming, and gives genuine compliments. This doesn’t feel like a typical workplace. I’ve experienced some hurt and unpleasant circumstances at previous workplaces, but here, I can breathe well. All the staff here is so kind, and I don’t have any complaints with the employees. Maybe it’s the age difference – everybody seems like daughters and sons to me.

Why do you volunteer at KYCC?
I have the happiest time here because I didn’t like my job before. I hated to go to my past workplace. Ever since I started working here, I wanted to be here. I always ask my husband to drop me off earlier because I love my work. I love working with the kids, doing art projects – it matches me very well. I realized that happiness doesn’t come from money, but it comes from doing what you love to do. I don’t earn a lot of money from NAPCA, and I only get paid 15 hours a week,  though I come much more than that. But I’m so grateful for this opportunity to work with the kids. As a Christian, I believe that God is using me and my talents here. He has given me this joyful time in my life. I sincerely enjoy this work, and tears come into my eyes every time I think of my last days working here. 

What are some long-term goals or plans?
My personal plan is to continue to draw and do art. My dream is to set up a drawing/painting café. Many art cafes are geared towards adults, but I would want to set up a kid-friendly café where families can come with children to have an enjoyable time freely creating art. It would be a place where there wouldn’t be a tuition fee or a teaching component, but a place where kids and adults can freely express themselves. But this is just a dream because I don’t really have the resources to do so. Nonetheless, it would be nice to have a place like that.

Please finish the sentence: To me KYCC means…
Heaven. Every time I come here, I automatically think to myself, “I’m in heaven.”

Community News

Last month we mentioned an activist group organizing against a new luxury residential project on 8th and Catalina, check out their 89.3 KPCC coverage here.

A nonprofit is suing over those same luxury apartments claiming that City Council ignored the community and the Planning commission after “speaking out strongly against it.”

Korean barbecue and Argentinian asado come together at Ombu Grill in Koreatown.

KYCC Staff’s Favorite Food Spot(light)

Oo Kook
3385 W. 8th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90005

Submitted by: Catarina Oh, CED

Cuisine: Korean BBQ

What do you like about this restaurant? The Food! 맛었어요! (yummy!)

Check out more staff favorites here. Do you have a favorite restaurant? Submit it here.

Birthdays and KYCC Anniversaries


  • May 8 – Dalia Lopez
  • May 9 – Veronica Espinoza
  • May 10 – Angela Eunsun Jeong
  • May 10 – Luz Favela
  • May 20 – Martin Gonzalez
  • May 24 – Ima Figueroa

Work Anniversaries

  • May 4 – 1 year – Veronica Espinoza
  • May 6 – 20 years – Jose Pantoja
  • May 8 – 2 years – Sergio Martinez
  • May 18 – 22 years – May Nanhoon Kim

Open Positions

Have some talented and driven friends? Let them know about our open positions.

  • Admin – Personnel Officer
  • Admin – Development Coordinator
  • Youth – Summer Day Camp Instructor
  • Kids Town – Kids Town Director
  • Environmental – Outreach Specialist
  • Environmental – Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Environmental – Energy Conservation Trainee
  • CS – Counselor III

Take Note!

Spring Cleaning!

Spring is a great time to look around, re-assess, re-evaluate, and clean up your life – both physically and mentally. Here are some tips to help you straighten up and realign your vision for the coming season.

  1. Set Three 90-day Goals – This is an idea that has caught on online and when I came across it, I immediately loved it. These are goals you set yourself—no HR forms or manager conversations necessary. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish professionally in the next quarter? Most appealing to me is the timeframe: long enough to achieve something meaningful and make real progress, but short enough to stick to. Set three, write them down, post them somewhere you can see them. Then find a way to hold yourself accountable. Do you want to send a certain number of tweets? Keep track. Send a certain amount of money to the bottom line? Keep track.
  2. Touch Every Piece of Paper on Your Desk – I took a walk around the office and it’s official: Every person has at least one pile of paper on her desk. Some have more, some have less, but everyone has some. Do those papers need to be there? Are they important? Can the pile be filed or thrown out? In the spirit of spring cleaning, last week I went through every pile on my desk and filed or tossed what I could. The few things that really needed doing, I moved to a prominent spot. We all get busy and this kind of cleaning is hard to do every day. But once a quarter? I’m on it.
  3. Get in Touch with Your Contacts – While you’re on LinkedIn, go through your contacts. Identify people you haven’t been in touch with for a while and send them an email or give them a call. I am haunted by a bit of advice More once published: An expert told us that the number one regret she hears from job hunters is that they did not keep in better touch with their network. Again, this is the kind of thing (like refreshing your resume) that you want to do before it’s necessary. Set up some lunches!
  4. Clear the Personal Stuff Off Your Computer – If you’ve been at your job for any length of time, chances are some personal information has built up on your work computer. Maybe it’s pictures of your kid that your spouse emailed; maybe it’s a friend’s contact info that is only attached to your work email address. Take an hour now to clean it off. Then get outside and enjoy the spring weather!
  5. Clean Your Computers and Other Electronics – We use them every day, spill coffee on them, and sometimes take them into the bathroom with us. Take a few minutes and clean your electronics (with special wipes for your screens, a keyboard cleaner that picks up junk in between the letters, and even a spray can of air should do the trick).
  6. Organize Your Emails – The inbox full of papers only gets filled every so often. But every day welcomes you to hundreds of new emails demanding your attention. Keep this organized, even if you’re the only one who sees it.

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