The "Live Like Lisa" team gathers on the South High School campus.
The “Live Like Lisa” team gathers on the South High School campus.

TORRANCE — To celebrate what would have been Lisa Sayaka Nakamaru’s 21st birthday (Dec. 8), her friends at South High School in Torrance have launched Kindness Week in her honor.

Nakamaru, daughter of Ward and Grace Nakamaru, a graduate of South High and a junior at UC Davis, died in a rafting accident on Oct. 12.

Her friends and family established a scholarship in her name at South High and started an online campaign at to raise funds for causes she believed in, such as animal rescue, saving the environment and being kind to people in need. As of Dec. 11, $2,900 had been raised toward the $5,000 goal.

According to Vicki Hildreth, activities director for South High Associated Student Body, the schedule for Kindness Week is as follows:

Dec. 8 — “We are asking that everyone wear purple or lavender (Nakamaru’s favorite color) and we will be taking a picture using a backdrop that we’ve created that says ‘#Live Like Lisa’ where students have signed the banner to pledge to live their lives like Lisa. We are also selling the LiveLikeLisa bracelets where 100% proceeds will go towards the scholarship.”

Dec. 9 — “We are challenging all students to show kindness and compassion for their teachers…go out of their way to lift their teachers up!”

Dec. 10 — “We are challenging all students to show kindness to their school by participating in a campus clean-up day after school from 3-4 p.m. This day will be co-sponsored by KIWINS and Environmental Club.”

Dec. 11 — “We are challenging all students to show kindness to their fellow students…to go out of their way to reach out to other students, befriend them, help them, tutor them, whatever!”

Dec. 12 — “We are challenging all students to show kindness to animals. We are working on partnering with a local shelter to allow students to come in and walk dogs, help out, play with the animals, etc.”

Dec. 13 — “We are challenging all students to be kind to Mother Earth by taking part in a beach clean-up day sponsored by SHS Environmental Club.”

The latter event, the only one that is open to the public, will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Torrance Beach, which begins at Calle Miramar and ends at Paseo de la Playa.

At UC Davis, a tree in the quad where Nakamaru’s Frisbee club practices was dedicated to her as a constant reminder of her life at the university.

For those visiting the Hollywood Riviera area of Torrance to see the Christmas lights, donations for the Live Like Lisa Scholarship will be accepted by purchase of bracelets, keychains and drinks on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 5465 Sharynne Lane.

For updates on efforts to preserve Nakamaru’s legacy, visit

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