Scenes from the bazaar held annually, until recently, at OAA in Gardena. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

On Saturday, Aug. 14, at 2 p.m. Pacific, the Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) is hosting “Mata Majun: Together Again!” at the OAA Center in Gardena.

This first in-person event is essentially an orientation for new and returning volunteers. RSVP is required due to limited space: http://tinyurl.com/oaavolunteer2021 or oaamensore@gmail.com. Face masks and temperature checks will be required. Subject to cancellation due to state/city safety mandates.

As the OAA cautiously prepares to bring back in-person events, the Aug. 14 function aims to present the variety of volunteer opportunities, and also update all on the changes and new protocols that will prioritize everybody’s safety. There will also be opportunities to meet and reunite with fellow volunteers and win door prizes (there will be prizes for both adults and children).

From the larger New Year’s Party and Okinawa Bazaar/Festival to the smaller potlucks and senior computer classes, the OAA’s yearly activities have always relied on the time, efforts, and talents of volunteers. However, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is faced with concerns like small event spaces and a membership roster and volunteer group that largely consist of senior citizens.

Since the start of the pandemic, the OAA Center in Gardena has been closed to the public. The staff and a small group of volunteers have been organizing a number of virtual activities, including a monthly social gathering on Zoom, a fundraiser, their virtual New Year’s celebration, and most recently their virtual Okinawa Picnic with a “Bon Dance at Home” segment. The organization also organized two socially distanced drive-thru events for senior members and an online/in-person hybrid for their board members/chairpersons retreat.

If distance is a factor for an interested volunteer, contact the OAA office directly: oaamensore@gmail.com.

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