By ALISON KOCHIYAMA
March marked one year since GVJCI’s temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our empty halls, classrooms, and parking lot were evidence of the loss and suffering that the community and the world had endured over the year, it also made us even more appreciative of all the people who gave life to our center. We miss everyone so much, and our hearts go out to all who have experienced loss or are recovering from illness.
During our temporary closure, our staff continued to work remotely even harder to provide programs, services, and support to the community in the best ways we could. Our Board of Directors also swiftly transitioned to virtual meetings providing guidance and support.
Overall, our work continued smoothly, although our doors were closed to the public. We provided online programs and limited on-site activities, like our monthly senior food distribution of 200 boxes. Our major events like the Day of Remembrance and Matsuri were virtual events but continued to engage the community. We increased our fundraising efforts and grant-writing to aid in the loss of revenue as our facility and operational expenses continued.
Recently, because of our programs, services and support to the community, we are excited to share that GVJCI became the proud recipient of the “Community Engagement Award” for 2021 AAPI Heritage Month by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s office.
We are extremely grateful for the support that the community has given us through our Friend of the GVJCI donations, supporting our year-end raffle, car donations, restaurant fundraisers, program and general donations, purchasing calendar and newsletters ads, and more! We thank the community for their continued participation in our online Japanese Language School, Tomo No Kai senior classes, and public programs. All of this enabled GVJCI to continue the work that we did during this difficult year.
As we navigate to another stage of the pandemic and vaccination process, GVJCI is following the guidelines of L.A. County and the City of Gardena very carefully and has developed reopening plans with caution for everyone’s continued safety.
As part of our reopening strategy, we upgraded all of our HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems in both buildings with ultraviolet light units to sterilize the air as it recirculates. By running the units on fan mode, the air will be sterilized as it recirculates through the ventilation system.
We are also taking other protective and safety measures to prepare for when we open our doors once again. We plan to reopen activities in stages soon, and we look forward to seeing everyone again.
We invite you to visit our website frequently and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.
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