Much of what we hear about diversity is about mostly white organizations. And most of what we hear about people-of-color nonprofits is that they're small. Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) confounds both assumptions. Sam Joo is the Program Director:
KYCC got started in 1975 when a big wave of Koreans moved to the United States, including my dad. The U.S. was recruiting health care workers, so immigration regulations were loosened; my dad was a pharmacist.
Now we have 55 staff in four locations. But KYCC started as just a two-story house for the Korean kids in the neighborhood. Their parents couldn't help them with their homework, some of them were experimenting with drugs. We started by offering counseling, employment counseling, then added mental health work for youth and parents.
At the time of the Civil Unrest [also known as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots], we were Korean Youth Center. Then we became Korean Youth and Community Center. Now we're Koreatown Youth and Community Center.
So you changed "Korean" to "Koreatown"? Doesn't sound like a big change.
It is a big change once you understand it. We looked around and realized that not only Koreans . . .