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

Koreatown

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.

1988-06-01 05:40:23

Ingraham House purchased

KYC purchased a house at 3986 Ingraham Street in 1988. The two-story building served as the KYC office.

1991-01-13 04:26:08

Ultra-Low Flush Toilet Exchange Program

In 1991, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power implemented the Low Flush Toilet Exchange Program. KYCC became one of the community-based organizations that ran the LADWP's program operations in 1993. At the end of the 15-year program--the largest water conservation program to date--KYCC gave away over 1.2 million free low-flush toilets and showerheads.

1992-04-29 00:00:00

Los Angeles Riots

On April 29, 1992, four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted of using excessive force against Rodney King, an African American motorist. Looters and arsonists made their way into Koreatown, where besieged shopowners were largely abandoned by the police and fire departments, as well as the authorities and local government. After four days of rioting, 2,200 businesses were destroyed and over 5,000 structure fire calls were made to the LAFD. There were 54 lives taken, and over $1 billion in damages were assessed, with over $400 million to the Korean American community alone.

1992-04-29 11:59:42

Riots Recovery Period

KYC provided emergency relief and advocated for Koreatown and Korean American business owners, who were especially devastated by the four days of looting and fires that erupted on April 29, 1992, after four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted for the beating of Rodney King. For the rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the L.A. Riots, KYC forms the Alliance for Neighborhood Economic Development to provide counseling and assistance to small business owners, such as applying for emergency loans to rebuild their businesses.

1992-08-15 11:59:42

KYC - Wilton Apartments

KYCC moves into Wilton Center at 680 South Wilton Place. This new building--where the Ingraham property once stood, marked a shift in the agency's priorities from gang prevention, family counseling and athletic programs towards housing development. From 1982 to 1992, the population in the Koreatown area grew 19 percent, while housing increased by a mere 6 percent. Wilton Center houses clinical, youth and economic development services on its first floor, while the 19 units of low-income housing is on the second floor.

1992-10-15 11:59:42

Korean Youth and Community Center

To mark our organization’s expanded direction and our commitment to serving other ethnic groups in the Koreatown neighborhood, KYC’s board of directors adds “Community” to our name. This new moniker, the Korean Youth and Community Center (the first iteration of KYCC), is adopted on October 15, 1992.

1994-12-01 16:56:38

First Holiday Carnival

KYCC held its first Holiday Carnival at the Shatto Recreational Center in 1994. This annual event offers KYCC the opportunity to give back to our clients and community. In recent years, over 2,000 children and their families have attended the event, where they enjoy carnival games, live performances and a free wrapped holiday gift from Santa.

1995-04-29 17:24:47

KYCC's Environmental Services Unit Founded

The growth of KYCC’s environmental services leads to a reoccurring KYCC theme: the need for more space. With the 1991 implementation of the Department of Water and Power’s Low Flush Toilet Exchange, a program to replace old water-guzzling toilets with new water-saving toilets, the environmental staff moves into a warehouse at 1319 Pico Boulevard, which formalizes the Environmental Services Unit. This unit also incorporates KYCC’s graffiti removal and tree planting programs. When the toilet exchange program comes to an end some 15 years later, KYCC will have given away or installed more than 1.2 million low-flow toilets and showerheads for free.

1995-06-01 11:59:42

Youth Programs Expand

In 1995, KYCC launched a pilot summer project that provided culturally sensitive leadership development for young Korean Americans, the Korean American Youth Leadership Program, headed by Do Kim. Today, KYCC has nine programs for children and youth in the Koreatown and greater Los Angeles area.

1999-01-01 11:59:42

Johng Ho Song Appointed Executive Director

In 1998, Johng Ho Song became the third executive director in the history of KYCC. He first joined the organization in 1985 as a counselor in the Clinical Services Unit, after graduating from UCLA with a degree in psychology. In 1995, Song was selected for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellowship, and from 1996 to 1997, he served as the KYCC interim executive director when Bong Hwan Kim took a leave of absence to earn a master’s degree in public administration. Under Song, the agency grew to a staff of 80, providing over 20 programs for thousands of children, individuals and families in Koreatown and the greater Los Angeles area.

2000-06-29 15:19:23

KYCC Moves into KOA Building

In 2000, KYCC formed a collaborative with four other Koreatown nonprofits — Korean American Museum; Korean American Coalition; Korean Health, Education, Information Resource Center; and Korean American Family Service Center — called the Koreatown Organizations Association. KOA purchased a six-story building at 3727 West Sixth Street with the goal of creating a one-stop community center where residents could access a variety of services. KYCC moved into our third-floor office in February 2005. Today, KOA still houses KYCC’s Community Economic Development, Administrative and Clinical units.

2000-06-30 08:28:54

Reno Apartments Established

KYCC’s second affordable housing project, the Reno Apartments, was the rehabilitation of a building formerly known as the Sammy Davis Jr. Manor. The 46-unit apartment complex at 340 South Reno Street, was completed with funding assistance from the Los Angeles Housing Department, and opened in 2000, providing housing for the neighborhood's immigrant seniors and other residents.

2004-01-01 11:59:42

KYCC Changes Name to "Koreatown" Youth and Community Center

KYCC changes its name again in 2004, replacing “Korean” with “Koreatown” to better reflect our commitment to serve all the diverse children, youth, and families in our community.

2005-05-11 11:59:42

KYCC Preschool Opens

KYCC Children’s Center opens in August 2005 at 1140 Crenshaw Boulevard after a successful $2.1 million capital campaign. These new facilities, with a capacity to care for 106 infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children, allows KYCC to support multiethnic families with affordable daycare and onsite parent education, case management, mental health, and medical care services in English, Spanish, and Korean. Children's Center changed its name to Kids Town in 2014.

2006-01-01 11:59:42

UCLA Case Study

The Center for Civil Society at the UCLA School of Public Affairs wrote a case study on the history of KYCC. The study was written by Helmut Anheier, the Center's director, and Professor of Policy Studies and Social Welfare, and Laurie Spivak, Research Associate at the UCLA School of Public Affairs with assistance from Kerry Candaele. The Center for Civil Society, as it is known today, concentrates on nonprofit leadership and management, grassroots advocacy, nongovernmental organizations, and philanthropy. The 2006 study focused on the balance of KYCC's mission, vision and identity with organizational growth in the midst of changing demographics in the neighborhood.

2006-04-23 17:09:41

Free Tax Services Begins

KYCC begins to offer tax return preparation assistance in 2006 through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). With 10 volunteers from Hanmi Bank, KYCC helps 70 families prepare their annual tax returns in that year. Since then, more than 120 volunteers and five different bank partners (BBCN, Commonwealth Bank, Pacific City Bank, Wilshire State Bank, and Hanmi Bank) have helped families throughout Los Angeles get more of their tax dollars back in refunds. In 2014, KYCC’s VITA program served over 5,500 families and brought back $6.5 million in tax refunds and credits to local households.

2006-09-30 00:00:00

Million Trees Los Angeles

With support from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Million Trees Los Angeles (MTLA) program and Trees for a Green LA (funded by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power), KYCC has distributed and planted thousands of trees, increasing the green canopy in our community. Once mature, each shade tree will remove over 20 pounds of carbon monoxide from the air.

2007-11-09 09:31:04

Neighborhood Excellence Initiative

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative awards KYCC a grant of $200,000. We were one of four L.A.-area agencies to receive this honor in 2007. These highly coveted distinctions were created to provide nonprofits with unrestricted grant funding to support organizations’ efforts to build up their communities and develop leadership capacities.

2008-09-01 03:49:30

KYCC First Annual Golf Tornament

KYCC's first golf tournament is held on April 25, 2008, with more than 130 golfers participating in the “FORE Children & Families” Golf Classic at the Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. In following years, Korean and Korean American professional golfers take part in the tournament, including PGA Tour veteran Charlie Wi, and LPGA Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, who hosted a golf clinic for youth as part of the 2009 tournament.

2009-08-09 00:00:00

Koreatown - Preserve America

In July 2009, the White House designates L.A.’s Koreatown a “Preserve America” Community, a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to maintain and enjoy our national heritage.” KYCC, with guidance and support from the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, built a coalition of Koreatown organizations to complete the Preserve America Communities application. In distinguishing Koreatown with one of these honors, First Lady Michelle Obama wrote, “[Koreatown] holds a treasured place in the American story, and it is through your vision and dedication that our history will be upheld and out future will be renewed. President Obama and I are proud of your community and we applaud your achievement.”

2011-06-30 19:01:02

Affordable Housing Expansion

In 2011, with the Little Tokyo Service Center, KYCC renovated five Section 8 apartment buildings in Koreatown, adding 84 more units of low-income housing in Koreatown. The Professional Housing and Development (PHD) apartments are located on Kingsley Drive, Kenmore Avenue, Arlington Avenue, West 20th Street, and Magnolia Avenue. In 2015, KYCC owns a total of eight apartment buildings with 204 units of affordable housing.

2013-03-01 08:47:23

Menlo Family Apartments

KYCC, along with the Little Tokyo Service Center, built a 60-unit affordable housing building at 1230 South Menlo Avenue. The building, with its green building practices, opened in March 2013 and houses formerly homeless families, families with a history of mental illness, and transition aged youth. KYCC provides on-site after-school programs, childcare and counseling services, and financial literacy workshops to support our tenants.

KYCC throughout the Years

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