September Relaunch

August 31, 2017

What’s New

New Hires

Hannah Park
Kids Town – Instructor


My name is Hannah, a preschool teacher at Kids Town. A former Pasadena resident, I also lived on the east coast close to Washington D.C. and in South Korea and Japan. I studied Early Childhood Education in the States and have experience working as an educator, mainly in the Reggio Emilia approach, and as a curriculum developer in Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka. I was inspired to work at KYCC because of the passion to help our community, focus on children’s development and growth, and the supportive and positive environment! It’s a pleasure and honor to work at KYCC. Thank you for reading!

Sehwa Yoon
Environmental – Volunteer Specialist

Hi! My name is Sehwa Yoon. I’m interning as volunteer specialist at Environmental Services. I came to the States eight months ago, and I started to work with KYCC about three months ago. All things that happen at KYCC are really amazing to me. As a volunteer specialist, I’m glad to help KYCC beautify the community!

I double-majored in Forestry and Environment and Economics in Korea. During college, I had the chance to participate in the 4th Asian Regional Meeting (ARM) in Manila, Philippines and the 42nd International Forestry Students Symposium (IFSS) in Vancouver, Canada as a member of International Forestry Students Association (IFSA). I was interested in exploring the world and learning how I could help our society. Also, it encouraged me to learn and use English, and I decided to study for one semester at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (UWO). There, I met my best friend who helped me get used to  life in the States. Inspired by her, I applied for a global buddy program at my university and helped my American friend adapt to Korea as well.

I’m participating now in an 18-month WEST (Work, English, Study, and Travel) program sponsored by the Korean government. Thanks to the program, I studied English in Irvine for  four months and I met KYCC!  I am interested in social issues like the environment, climate change, gender and human rights. I’m pleased to get close to the issues thanks to KYCC. I love reading, learning new things, helping our society take a step forward, volunteering for communities, traveling and having experiences firsthand. The location in the picture is my favorite spot, Niagara Falls, where it took me 18 hours BY BUS from Chicago, which is my favorite city in the States!

Marla Roque
Youth Services – GRYD Case Manager

My name is Marla Roque. I’m the new GRYD case manager. I completed my undergraduate studies at Cal State Long Beach with a double major in Sociology and Human Development.  My employment history includes: afterschool leader, behavior aide, and GRYD case manager. Also, I participated as a Sunday School teacher for a children’s ministry and youth group leader at a local church for 10 years.

I recently became a mother for the first time. So, all of my evenings and free time are spent with my little bundle of joy.  Becoming a mother has been life changing; it is truly a challenging, but rewarding journey thus far.  Some of my hobbies include reading, hiking, and event planning.

I am really enjoying my time with the Menlo Community.  I look forward to making meaningful contributions to my community and KYCC family.



Jessica Figueroa

Hello KYCC team,

I can’t believe the day has come in where I have to say goodbye to Menlo and KYCC (and especially lunchtime at Menlo). My last two years at KYCC have been anything but dull. KYCC took me through a journey of self-growth that will remain a part of me forever. I will always cherish the memories I have with both my Wilton and Menlo family! I am moving on to pursue my master’s in Social Work at the University of Washington, Seattle. Yup, Seattle. Apart from missing KYCC, I will also be missing the sun and all things California. So if you are ever in the Seattle area and just happen to have an In-N-Out burger or Philz cup of coffee on you, I will gladly host you! JK but seriously, I will miss everyone here at KYCC, please keep in touch. I can be reached at my personal email Thanks again for the memories KYCC.


Jessica Figueroa


Paola Tirado

Hello KYCC!

My time with this incredible agency has come to an end! Though I was here for a short time, I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and alongside amazing individuals. As an immigrant woman who grew up in South Central L.A., the work done at KYCC hits home on multiple levels. So on those days when deadlines are upon you and stress is piling up, know that your work is important, necessary and valued. Though I was here for less than a year, I experienced tremendous growth during my time at KYCC, and feel humbled my abilities were trusted to be Lead Youth Organizer within the PE and YS units and service the families at the Menlo Family apartments and surrounding areas.  On the bright side, I’m excited to return to school this fall to finish my undergraduate degree! I will be attending CSU Long Beach to finish my BA in History, and if all goes as planned I will be applying to law school next year! I hope to still be around here and there, but feel free to keep in touch

In solidarity,


Employee Spotlight

Julio Barahona
Service Coordinator, Youth Services

Please Tell Me About Yourself?
Before coming to KYCC, I worked for Para Los Niños (Leimert Park/South Central Los Angeles) providing academic tutoring services and life skills for youth who were in the foster care system. I’m happy to say that I completed my third year at KYCC in April of this year and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow.

Can you share with us something most people don’t know about you?
As a kid, I lived with my grandparents in Panchimalco, El Salvador for about 16 months. My grandmother made ends meet by making tortillas and my grandfather made his living working the land (growing crops and tending to cattle), so I learned to ride horses at a young age.

What do you do in your free time?
Outside of spending time with my wife and son, I enjoy playing disc golf, baseball and dodgeball. Also, I paint whenever I can convince my son to take part in it.

What do you love the most about your job, and what is the most challenging?
What I love most about my job is that it provides the space for me build relationships and extend a helping hand. The most challenging part is being able to decompress after listening to some of the challenges members of the community or families in our building face.

What inspires you to do the work you do?
What inspires me to do the work I do is following the values that my parents set in our household in regards to fulfilling my duty as person and offering a hand when necessary. Also, a driving force is reflecting on my childhood and realizing that I’m fortunate to be in the position I’m in.

What is one thing you wish other staff knew about Menlo?
At Menlo, like all KYCC staff, we realize that the common goal is to improve the lives of others. However, the unique thing about Menlo is that along the process of helping others you start to feel the presence of a culture that promotes a family dynamic among staff and the families we serve. I’m fortunate to say that the type of passion and dedication staff at Menlo put in their craft/work, they double up on investing and looking out for one another.

What is your fondest memory to date at your time at KYCC?
2016 Fallfest at Menlo. As a team, we had endured two tough departures when Carlos and Cristina moved on. A night before the event, we all took it upon ourselves to stay late to decorate and I’m happy to say that our team came together and pulled off an awesome event for our tenants and the community.  Having pizza, decorating, watching a scary movie and closing the center at 9:00 p.m. is my fondest memory! (A big THANK YOU to Menlo staff, you guys are the heartbeat of this center.) Also, a big shout out to “G” and PE staff for the support! You guys keep this machine running!

Where do you imagine yourself to be 10 years from now?
A few years ago, I had the privilege to do case management at John Burroughs Middle School. Spending time around students rekindled my desire to work with youth in a school setting. So 10 years from now, I see myself working at a school as a guidance counselor.

Why do you consider KYCC a special place?
I consider KYCC a special place because I’ve never been around a work environment that promotes a family culture/environment for staff. Also, I hold this agency in high regard because it has given me the opportunity to grow and realize possibilities that I wasn’t aware I was capable of (big shout out to Ernie)!

Quickfire Questions

Where is your hometown?
Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, Aliso Village Housing Apartments

What is your relationship with Koreatown?
Work in Ktown

What are your thoughts on Koreatown?
I have mixed feelings about what’s taking place. I’m for development and growth but not at the expense of displacing families. I feel that gentrification strips a community of its culture and identity that was set in place.

Where is your favorite place in Koreatown and why?
Café Bleu: the 90’s hip-hop & food, Shatto Lanes: has the old school appeal on the outside.

Community News

KYCC’s 401k provider Guideline recently closed a Series A round of funding for 15M.


Koreatown’s Beloved Postmodern KFC Gets Torched in Weekend Blaze

Planning commission supports 16-story Koreatown tower next to Art Deco landmark

There’s a new Food Court on the third floor of the Gaju Marketplace complex. Yumm.

LA is cracking down on drivers parking on sidewalks, something Koreatown is famous for.

Though likely not enough to bring down soaring rents, LA’s residential apartment construction is up 61%

Staff’s Favorite Food Spot(light)

Cheesy, spicy, meaty goodness at Sun Nong Dan

By Vince Leus

On the return of the “Food Spot(light)” in its new, restaurant review-esque format, we stopped by a Koreatown staple to get the “spicy comfort food” that Jonathan Gold gets when he’s had a bad day. Sun Nong Dan, tucked in a corner of the ever-chaotic Alexandria Plaza, has been an established spot for K-towners to get the best of Korean hot soups and stews.

But what most come here for is the galbi jjim. This “casserole,” which you can get in a stone pot bigger than your face, contains a heap of tender beef short rib and oxtail mixed with potatoes, carrots, and my personal favorite, Korean rice cake, or tteok. This mountain of matter comes in what Gold sensually describes as a “violently red lagoon of broth,” with a spiciness level that you can control. But the true star of this dish is the handful of white cheese they sprinkle on top of the bubbling meat. And for dramatic effect, they torch it to transform it into the webby, sticky consistency we are used to seeing in Kraft cheese commercials.

According to Gold, galbi jjim is a regal dish usually served to the Korean royal court and during special occasions like Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving. And for good reason, the dish takes some commitment to make.

“To make it good it takes hours to braise,” Prevention Education’s HaRi Kim said about the dish. “It’s not an everyday dish. I ate spicy galbi jjim for my grandmother’s funeral.”

Sun Nong Dan’s galbi jjim is also a new take on the dish that is usually soy sauce-based.

“It’s usually not spicy,” Prevention Education Manager Mihae Jung said. “[The] cheese is a new thing,” though Jung also mentioned that Koreans “love putting cheese on their food.” Go figure.

Almost everyone I have talked to about this restaurant confirms Gold’s stellar review.

“I heard Sun Nong Dan’s galbi jjim is the best… from other Korean people.” Community Economic Development’s Alice Kim said. Here in Koreatown we are pretty spoiled to have a high density of “the best [fill in the blank].”

You don’t have to be celebrating the life and legacy of your beloved grandmother to find yourself picking at a bubbling pot of cheesy meat.  Working in Koreatown everyday is equivalent to a Korean holiday (or so I tell myself), so go get your fix of galbi jjim on your next lunch-out.





Birthdays and KYCC Anniversaries


  • Sept 3 – Grace Park
  • Sept 6 – Charvel Valenzuela
  • Sept 9 – Erik Lopez
  • Sept 11 – Bryan Zaragoza
  • Sept 13 – Hisu Chung
  • Sept 15 – Nayon Kang
  • Sept 17 – Heather Jun
  • Sept 22 – Rachel Malarich
  • Sept 29 – Hannah Lim
  • Sept 29 – Rumee Chung

Work Anniversaries

  • Sept 1 – 2 years – Mr Kim
  • Sept 4 – 3 years – Mihae Jung
  • Sept 8 – 3 years – Nedette Cuerno
  • Sept 13 – 1 year – Jovan Rodriguez
  • Sept 18 – 3 years – Hector Valadez
  • Sept 19 – 1 year – Ligia Pacheco
  • Sept 19 – 1 year – Albert Rodriguez
  • Sept 19 – 1 year – Santiago Sanchez
  • Sept 29 – 28 years – Ms Yoon

Open Positions

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

  • Clinical – Clinical Supervisor
  • Kids Town – Preschool Head Teacher
  • Kids Town – Family Advocate/Assistant Teacher
  • Prevention Education – Health Education Specialist
  • Youth Services – Academic Instructor
  • Youth Services – Youth Prevention Specialist

Take Note!

Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.

– Mark Zuckerberg

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