KYCC throughout the Years

The Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) is a non-profit, community-based organization that has been serving the Korean American Community since 1975. KYCC's programs and services are specifically directed towards recently immigrated, economically disadvantaged youth and their families who experience coping and adjustment difficulties due to language and cultural barriers. Since its inception, KYCC has striven to improve the quality of its programs, as well as to diversify its services to appropriately meet the evolving needs of the Korean American population and of the multi-ethnic Koreatown community.

1975-05-09 11:59:42

Founding of KYC

The history of KYCC began in 1975, when the Asian American Drug Abuse Program established an outreach project called the Korean Youth Center (KYC) to address the growing numbers of Korean American teens in Koreatown who were at risk of substance abuse or joining ethnic street gangs. Opening our doors on Feb. 14, at 932 South Crenshaw Boulevard, KYC had just one staff member, Project Director Rev. Paul Chun. But Rev. Chun and a crew of key volunteers made it possible for KYC to provide after-school tutoring and summer enrichment programs for youth, and education for parents on how to navigate the school system, child abuse policies, and the juvenile justice system. These early years are funded with contributions from the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and support from other local nonprofits, including the Korean Community Council, the Asian-American Community Services Center, and the Korean American Health Education Society. Also crucial to KYC’s formation is the tireless work of community figures such as Dr. Samuel Rhee, Cooke Sunoo, Ron Wakabayashi, and Inhwan Kim.

1979-06-02 05:40:23

Clinical and other Services founded

KYC received an AB90 grant through the Los Angeles County Department of Community Development to begin counseling services in 1979. During this year, KYC's staff grows to nine.

1980-01-01 05:40:23


The City of Los Angeles officially designated Koreatown as a neighborhood. By the end of the decade, Koreatown was home to over 500 churches, 150 associations, 32 newspapers, and a 24-hour radio station. The Korean American population was the 4th largest Asian Pacific group in Southern California, and had grown 700% (from 8,500 to 60,618) between 1970 and 1980.

1980-06-01 05:40:23

Move to Oxford

KYC relocated to a house (owned by the Wilshire Presbyterian Church) at 309 South Oxford Avenue. Its more spacious surroundings allowed KYC to provide additional services and a drop-in center for Korean American youth.

1982-01-01 11:59:42

Jane Kim Appointed Executive Director

A 1.5-generation Korean American (who emigrated from Korea as a teenager) Jane Kim had served as a young KYC program director for several years before being named KYC’s first executive director in 1982. During these early years, KYC was mentored by the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, and the organization's finances and programs grew successfully. Kim served as executive director of KYC from 1982 to 1988. She is highly regarded for her work in the community and advocacy for immigrant youth. During her tenure, KYC focused on youth issues in Koreatown, such as gang prevention, drug abuse issues, and job training and placement.

1983-07-01 11:59:42

KYC Becomes Independent

On July 1, 1983, KYC becomes an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, with a mission “to provide comprehensive youth services to the Korean community.” Dr. Henry Whang, a counselor with the Los Angeles Unified School District, is appointed as KYC’s first board president.

1983-07-01 11:59:42

Juvenile Delinquency in the Korean American community

KYC handled 52 cases from July 1983 to June 1984. Of the 52 cases, 30 involved males and 22 females; 38 percent were arrested; nearly two-thirds, or 73 percent, were between the ages of 13 and 17; 13 percent were runaways; 11 percent involved theft; nine percent were dealing with family conflicts; burglary, truancy and drug abuse each accounted for eight percent. Juvenile delinquency was a problem in the Korean American community during the 1980s, as a rising Korean American youth population faced assimilation problems, including language and cultural barriers.

1983-07-22 11:59:57

KYC 1983 Benefit Dinner

KYC’s first fundraising dinner on July 22, 1983 featured actor-comedian Johnny Yune as our host. Yune brought with him luminaries like actor Jack Lemmon and singer Frankie Avalon. Held at the legendary Cocoanut Grove auditorium in the Ambassador Hotel, this event raised $30,000 for our newly independent organization. In September 1993, KYC was admitted into the service network of the United Way, earning $30,000 more in support. KYC becomes the first Korean organization to receive support from the United Way, the largest human services organization in the United States.

1985-12-19 11:59:42

KYC 10th Anniversary Concert Fundraiser

To commemorate KYC's 10th anniversary, KYC held a fundraising dinner concert on Dec. 19, 1985, at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. The theme for the evening was “A Concert for Korean American Youth,” and its goal was for “young, talented Korean Americans [to] integrate Korean and American cultural performing arts.”

1988-01-01 11:59:42

Bong-hwan Kim Appointed Executive Director

In 1988, Bong Hwan Kim became KYC's second executive director. Prior to KYC, Kim led the Korean Community Center of the East Bay in Oakland, Calif. Kim was highly regarded as a progressive leader, who was faced with rebuilding the Koreatown community following the devastation from the Los Angeles Riots, as he focused on interethnic community building, and diversification of the KYC staff.

KYCC throughout the Years

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