SAN FRANCISCO – Nihonmachi Little Friends (NLF) will celebrate the agency’s 47th anniversary on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. with a virtual program.

The event will feature the special recognition of Masako Iino, former president and professor emeritus of Tsuda University in Tokyo, and Maya Yoshikawa, a former NLF staff member and parent alumna; a sneak preview of the “Dreams Interrupted” website project; and an update on NLF’s programs. Participants will also enjoy a recorded performance by acclaimed artist Brenda Wong Aoki.

Guests are encouraged to order special sushi bento boxes from We Be Sushi, which has partnered with NLF for the past several years. To purchase event tickets, place a sushi order, or donate, go to www.nlfchildcare.org and click on the invitation link.

“As this year’s event coincides with the building’s 90th anniversary, we are pleased to pay tribute to Professor Iino and Maya-sensei for their essential work in the ‘Dreams Interrupted’ project,” stated NLF Executive Director Cathy Inamasu. “It is most fitting to acknowledge them for their contributions to the project and the preservation of the building’s history.”

Yoshikawa reached out to Iino to uncover little-known stories related to Yona Abiko, a San Francisco-based Issei leader who was one of the founding members of the Japanese YWCA at 1830 Sutter St. Designed by famed architect Julia Morgan, the “Issei Women’s Building” was built in 1932, offering cultural and social activities and temporary housing for young women and girls.

Over six decades later, the building was entrusted to NLF, a culturally based, nonprofit childcare organization, as part of an out-of-court settlement of a community-supported lawsuit to save the building. 1830 Sutter was added to the National Register of Historic Places and the California Historic Register in 2020 and was designated as San Francisco’s Landmark 291 in 2021.

NLF’s programs closed on March 17, 2020, with the shelter-in-place order, and reopened on July 1, 2020, when childcare programs were allowed to do so. Although the past two years have continued to be challenging, NLF’s preschool and school-age after-school programs have continued to provide services to families while assuring safe learning environments.

“Our community is the backbone of our organization. Although we can’t enjoy our usual gathering over sushi, we look forward to celebrating this important milestone in the history of NLF and our building,” stated Inamasu.

NLF continues to raise capital funds for the maintenance and preservation of 1830 Sutter. Naming opportunities are available starting at $1,000, with recognition on donor boards prominently displayed in the new building’s lobby. Information on ways to help NLF reach its goal can be found at www.nlfchildcare.org.

Event tickets are available at $50 per person. For more information, contact NLF at (415) 922-8898 or nlfchildcare@gmail.com. All event proceeds will benefit NLF’s programs and its Building Fund. This event is made possible with the generous support of Union Bank, the Atsuhiko & Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, and the Bernard E. & Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation.

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