June 2016

June 3, 2016

What’s New

KYCC’s Biggest Community Cleanup a Huge Success

On May 14, KYCC’s Environmental Services and Prevention Education hosted one of our BIGGEST community cleanups to date. Over 350 volunteers gathered at LaFayette Park at 9 a.m. and took to the streets of Westlake and Koreatown, picking up trash and beautifying our neighborhood.

Read more.

KYCC’s Clean Streets Program Beautifies Koreatown

KYCC’s Environmental Services joined Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Clean Street Initiative in January 2016 in an effort to clean up trash, weeds and other debris throughout Koreatown, Pico-Union and Westlake. The program was created to complement the Bureau of Sanitation’s free Bulky Item Pickup that city residents can request through the 311 system. While larger items are handled through B.O.S., KYCC’s Clean Streets Program targets smaller items that blight many of our neighborhood streets.

Read more. 

KYCC to Bring Lending Circles to Koreatown

This May, KYCC was selected as a BetterLA Awardee by the Mission Asset Fund to be a Lending Circle provider. The MAF Lending Circles Program turns the common practice of lending and borrowing money between friends and family into powerful credit building. By providing a financial alternative, low-income families and individuals are able to build assets and improve their credit scores at the same time.

Read more.

Explore with KYCC! Enroll in KYCC’s Summer Day Camp

Every year, KYCC’s Summer Day Camp (SDC) becomes home to nearly 100 K-5th grade students who come from all over Los Angeles County to join teachers and volunteers for a summer filled with academic workshops, enrichment activities, and field trips.

Read more.

Manos Unidas Performs Alcohol Awareness Play

In collaboration with KYCC, Youth Policy Institute (YPI) and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, Manos Unidas performed a play, “Influence That Kills,” on April 28 at Vista Charter Middle School. The play illustrated the consequences of alcohol and other drugs on youth.

The event, with over 60 attendees, promoted the initiatives of Alcohol Awareness Month and helped to reduce the stigma often associated with alcoholism. By encouraging communities to reach out to the public every April, Manos Unidas offered information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery.

Read More.

New Hires

Yadira de Anda
Youth Services – GRYD Case Manager

Yadira de Anda is finishing up her first year as a Master of Social Welfare student at UCLA. Yadira began with the GRYD Program as an intern in September 2015 before being hired. Prior to starting the graduate program in September, she worked as a Family Support Worker for Orange Children and Parents Together, Inc. Her role as a Family Support Worker was to assist Head Start-aged children and their families to link to resources and services in the community to promote family growth. At KYCC, Yadira will work as GRYD Case Manager until August. Yadira enjoys spending time with her friends and family. When she has some free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and watching Netflix.

Tania Contreras
Youth Services – GRYD Case Manager

Tania began interning as a GRYD Case Manager with GRYD in September 2015 as part of her graduate program and will be assisting with cases over the summer. Before coming to KYCC, Tania worked as a Family Advocate for Head Start where she assisted 42 preschoolers (they are the cutest!) and their families with resources linkage. Tania graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Psychology in 2013 and is currently at UCLA completing her Master of Social Welfare (Bruins in da house!). In her free time, she likes listening to music, doing Spartan Races, working out, playing with her cat named Jacob and keeping up with shows on Netflix.

Employee Spotlight

Joe St. John
Chief Operating Officer

Please Tell Me About Yourself.
I come from a family of educators and got my degree in music education and composition. I knew I didn’t want to teach right after finishing my own schooling (mad props to YS!) so I started a squiggly path from Stanford to UCLA to West LA to Beverly Hills.

My jobs were cool but, at the end of the day, my work didn’t really make my community a better place. I volunteered for some nonprofits but wanted more.

My good friend, amazing chef and former KYCC Director Hae Jung Cho told me about the COO job. I had lunch with Johng Ho and the rest is history.

Can you share with us something most people don’t know about you?
I used to be in a rock band. We played the Roxy, the Whiskey, and the Elbow Room in SF to name a few. Good times.

What do you love the most about your job?
I spent most of my professional career at for-profit companies. I don’t think most of us know how lucky we are to spend our days helping people. And getting paid for it. It’s a great privilege and a great responsibility.

What inspires you to do the work you do?
Working with you. And PE. And ES. And everyone one who shows up everyday eager to make life better for someone else.

What is your fondest memory to date of your time at KYCC?
There’s not one. It’s a collage of small acts of courage from the people I work with. The people who take a chance to do more than what is asked of them. To solve a problem they weren’t asked to solve. Who choose themselves and say “Yes” to uncertainty.

As CFO, what would you consider your highest accomplishment thus far or the most important part of your role at KYCC?
Surviving meetings with a Board of Directors that includes senior bank executives. After nine years, I still get nervous when I have to give the fiscal update.

Do you consider KYCC a special place if so, why?
Very much so. Why? The people. And the passion. And the opportunity KYCC gives us to leave a lasting impact on our community. I’ve gotten to know quite a few nonprofits over the years and I can’t think of any I’d rather be working at.


  1. Where is your hometown? Silicon Valley before the silicon.
  2. What is your relationship with Koreatown? Love the small family-run restaurants.
  3. What are your thoughts on Koreatown? It’s a vibrant, exciting place. It’s weird seeing white people jogging down 6th Street but gentrification also brings more resources to the community.
  4. Where is your favorite place in Koreatown…and why? Mapo http://www.yelp.com/biz/mapo-kkak-doo-gee-restaurant-los-angeles

Employee Spotlight 2

Jerry Velasquez
Environmental Services – Environmental Specialist aka Tree Whisperer

Please Tell Me About Yourself
Hello my name is Jerry Velasquez. I am 35 years old. I like long walks on the beach to look into the night sky for stars and a nice and caring person! (My bad)

I have two wonderful children that have a big age gap…not by choice, it just happened that way. My son is 15 years old and a sophomore in high school and my daughter is going to be 2 in July. Something that some people don’t know about me is that I love to make music and listen to new music and I love to go paintballing and have fun.

I’ve been working at KYCC for about 14 years. When I got hired as the Tree Planting crew chief I didn’t know anything about the agency. Coming from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, it was a big step for me to learn everything I could.

I also had to learn the City of Los Angeles. All I knew was how to plant trees. But I had two really good people—my supervisor and manager who helped me out with everything. Then I just started planting trees all over the city.

I moved to the toilet program and picked up old toilets to bring them back to be broken in a big bin and the city would recycle the porcelain. The program started to change because people weren’t installing their own toilets, so DWP told all the agencies that we would started installing toilets and I did that for a while before I got my own route to install.

When the toiletprogram ended, I started working  on graffiti for a little over a year, then I moved back to the Tree Planting program. This is why I love what I do here.

What do you love the most about your job?
What I love most about my job is working with the community to help give them the tools they need to get trees planted on their block. I also enjoy giving information about the programs that we offer to the communities we work in.

I also love the different people I get to meet either planting trees, inspecting locations or canvassing to make a change in their communities and to see how happy they are to receive their free tree in their parkway.

What inspires you to do the work you do?
The thing that inspires me the most is that I get to work with a lot of professionals in the tree field work & I get to see what they are doing and how I can use some of what I’m there to learn and use it at my job.

What is your fondest memory to date of your time at KYCC?
The fondest memory at KYCC is that we have a lot of people who care about each other  because you work it them on a daily basis. I also have a memory of meeting Johng Ho for the first time and he was kind to me and he just told me to love what I do here at KYCC.

As ES Tree Planting Coordinator, what would you consider your highest accomplishment thus far?
The highest accomplishment as the Tree Planting Coordinator is being able to run this program for KYCC for the past four years. Another accomplishment is being able to work as a team with my manager and two crew supervisors to get everything done that we have to do for the Tree Planting program.


  1. Where is your hometown? East L.A.
  1. What is your relationship with Koreatown? My relationship with K-Town is I work in this area to help green the streets.
  2. What are your thoughts on Koreatown? My thought on K-Town is that the people are nice.
  1. Where is your favorite place in Koreatown…and why? I don’t have a favorite place in K-town because I think everything is awesome in its own way.

Volunteer Spotlight

Christian Jerez
Community Cleanup Volunteer

Please tell me about yourself?
Hi my name is Cristian (I’m the one on the left). I am 25 years old and was born in Los Angeles. I love Italian and Mexican food.

What’s your first memory of KYCC? 
My first memory of KYCC is volunteering at last year’s community cleanup in the Pico-Union area.

What do you think makes KYCC /KYCC staff special?
I believe that the active involvement from the KYCC staff in the Koreatown, Westlake and Pico-Union area is what makes them very special.

Tell us about being involved in the community cleanup for two years in a row. What do you like about it? How has it helped you as a person?
I absolutely loved the organization of the two cleanups that I have been a part of. From the registration process to the trucks that follow us around to help us with the trash bags and tools—everything is just fabulous. I also enjoyed the sense of community that we are able to build with the members of our groups. Doing things in a team setting has taught me how to better contribute to group settings. As a person I have been able to grow in teambuilding.

Why do you volunteer at the community cleanup? What’s special about this event to you?
I grew up in Koreatown, I have seen how dirty the community can get and so that is why I enjoy volunteering with an organization that invests their resources in making Koreatown a better and cleaner place.

Why should other people volunteer at the community cleanup? Can you share an anecdote from participating in last year’s cleanup and this year’s?
I believe people should volunteer because it raises awareness of two things: 1. That I too can help make a difference; I can play a part in the improvement of my community. 2. It brings accountability to things such as avoiding littering etc. It makes us advocates.

Please finish the sentence: To me KYCC means…
a place where community happens. It empowers others and it brings consciousness to that which we can be accountable for.


  1. Where is your hometown? Koreatown
  2. What is your relationship with Koreatown? I grew up in Koreatown and now have family that lives here.
  3. What are your thoughts on Koreatown? A great place to live and work. It has improved a lot over the past few years.
  4. Where is your favorite place in Koreatown…and why? Kyochon! Because their wings rock!

Community News

In Pico-Union, Book Sprouts aims to give parents the skills to bolster their children’s development and help close the gaps between children who are enrolled in preschool and those who miss out.

Ever seen those charter buses spewing out exhaust along Olympic Boulevard? Los Angeles Times reports on the “blessing and a curse” of casinos and Korean seniors.

Yet another way to eat pizza! Check out Seoul Waffle Pizza on 8th and Oxford!

Renters voicing their complaints against micro-apartment managements in Pico-Union. (Article in Spanish)

Redevelopment boom in Koreatown are pushing out family-owned, Korean businesses.


KYCC Staff’s Favorite Food Spot(light)

Brother’s Sandwich Shop
3274 W. 6th St.

Submitted by: Jessica Figueroa, Youth Services Unit

Cuisine: Sandwiches

“A good old deli-style, Boar’s Head sandwich! Beats when you’re tired of Subway and feeling fancy.”

Editors Note: Dustin also loves Brothers. Their Tomato Basil Soup is life changing.

“Fully Loaded” – Jessica’s Favorite

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

Birthdays and KYCC Anniversaries


  • Jun. 5 – Blanca Morales
  • Jun. 6 – Joseph St. John
  • Jun. 6 – Nenette Cuerno
  • Jun. 13 – Hector Valadez
  • Jun. 17 – Anabel Torres
  • Jun. 17 – Dustin Cole
  • Jun. 22 – Bradley Rush
  • Jun. 22 – Rick Kim
  • Jun. 24 – HaRi Kim
  • Jun. 25 – Yun Pak

Work Anniversaries

  • Jun. 2 – 4 years – Katherine Kim
  • Jun. 3 – 1 year – Heather Jun
  • Jun. 5 – 1 year – Bradley Rush
  • Jun. 16 – 2 years – Gennesis Lopez
  • Jun. 21 – 11 years – Nely Rojo
  • Jun. 24 – 14 years – Rick Kim
  • Jun. 30 – 2 years – Angela Jeong
  • Jun. 30 – 13 years – Brenda Ramos

Open Positions

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

  • Admin – Human Resources Manager
  • Admin – Development Coordinator
  • Youth – Elementary Program Lead
  • Environmental – Outreach Specialist
  • Environmental – Energy Conservation Trainee
  • Clinical – Counselor III

Take Note!

“I’ve seen more institutions damaged by too much caution than by rashness, though I’ve seen both.” – Peter Drucker, Managing the Non-Profit Organization

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