From left: Jan Masaoka, CEO of California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits); Matthew Yonemura, Changing Tides (CT) outreach coordinator; Katie Mitani, CT crew member; Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi; Yua Watanabe, CT crew member; Margaret Shimada, director of Service Programs, LTSC; Aaron Forburger, field representative for Muratsuchi. The youth and young adult-driven program of Little Tokyo Service Center was recognized as 2022’s Nonprofit of the Year by Muratsuchi and the State Assembly in June at the State Capitol.

Little Tokyo Service Center is proud to announce that its Changing Tides program has been selected as a 2022 California Nonprofit Program of the Year by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).

Changing Tides is one of more than 100 nonprofits and nonprofit programs that will be honored by their state senators and assemblymembers for outstanding contributions to the communities they serve.

Changing Tides aims to normalize mental health among the Japanese American/AAPI community through open conversations, outreach and events. It recently launched a new initiative called CT Stream, which provides stipends for qualifying AAPI young adults (ages 16-25) to access free therapy sessions with culturally sensitive therapists.

Additionally, a peer support group called CT Flow offers weekly conversations and support for those looking to connect around issues of wellness. 

“The Changing Tides program was initiated and is driven by an amazing group of young people and volunteers, who care deeply about the mental health crisis affecting the AAPI community. We are deeply humbled to have Changing Tides recognized by Assemblymember Al Muratuschi as a 2022 Nonprofit Program of the Year,” said Erich Nakano, executive director at Little Tokyo Service Center.

“There aren’t words to explain the honor it is for Changing Tides to be recognized by Al Muratsuchi as a 2022 Nonprofit Program of the Year. Without the support of Little Tokyo Service Center, the AAPI community and our volunteers, the work we do wouldn’t be possible,” said Matthew Yonemura, Changing Tides outreach coordinator.

“Nonprofit organizations play such a critical role in our communities, and the last two years of the pandemic have only served to highlight that,” noted Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), which serves as a partner for this awards program. “California Nonprofit of the Year gives elected officials the opportunity to shine a light on the important work nonprofits are doing in their districts and for everyone to appreciate the collective impact of nonprofits in our communities.”

Changing Tides, which started in 2018 as an idea by a group of college friends, has grown to become a program that reaches 5,000 AAPI young adults and families through various workshops, forums, activities and events. Info: http://thechangingtides.org

For over 40 years, Little Tokyo Service Center has provided a safety net of social welfare and community development services to empower people and communities in need. Starting with its home in Little Tokyo, LTSC preserves and strengthens the unique ethnic communities of the Southern California region where people, culture and collective future matter. Info: www.ltsc.org

California Nonprofits Day is now in its seventh year. Each year legislators from across California choose a Nonprofit of the Year in their district. Honorees and legislators are invited by CalNonprofits, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector Sen. Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) to a celebratory luncheon on California Nonprofits Day, June 8.

According to “Causes Count,” a 2019 report commissioned by CalNonprofits, the nonprofit sector is the fourth-largest industry in the state, employing more than 1.2 million people. Each year, California nonprofits generate more than $273 billion in revenue and bring in $40 billion in revenue from outside of California. The unpaid labor contributed by volunteers at nonprofits is equivalent to 330,000 full-time jobs every year.

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