The Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is offering a 12-hour training program this fall for Kokoro Corps, a volunteer program for those interested in serving the Japanese American community in Little Tokyo and in other neighborhoods around Los Angeles County.

Volunteers can make a big difference in the quality of life of the people they serve, but the benefits don’t stop there. Everyone intuitively knows that it feels good to help others, and more and more research is showing how volunteering is good for your mind and body.

As a stay-at-home mom, Maki Wallace realized that she was socially isolated. Now in her 25th year of volunteering at LTSC, she says, “My desire to connect with society led me to volunteer work. It is a joy to contribute what I can, even if it’s just a small part, to the community through my weekly volunteer work.”

LTSC has been providing services in Little Tokyo and to the broader Nikkei community for 35 years, and is actively recruiting compassionate volunteers who believe in LTSC’s vision of “Helping People, Building Community.”

There are a variety of ways to help people and build community, and volunteers can choose to serve in whatever capacity fits their time and interests. In particular, LTSC is looking for people to support activities at the recently opened Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo, do light office work, provide assistance to social workers, and visit socially isolated people at their homes.

The in-depth training takes place over four Saturdays (Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov. 8) from 9 a.m. to noon in Little Tokyo. It includes workshops about Little Tokyo and Japanese Americans in Southern California, social services issues in the community, an overview of the laws and resources for serving people, and discussions to equip volunteers to maintain good boundaries and have positive experiences.

For more information, visit LTSC’s website ( or call Ayumi Nagata at (213) 473-3035.

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