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Youth Groups Maintain Venice JA Memorial Monument

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July 19 cleanup crew: Azjalize Facey, Melody Vasquez, Kaylyn Vasquez, Jorge Gonzales, Anthunie Reynoso.

By PHYLLIS HAYASHIBARA

The Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee has been coordinating the almost monthly maintenance of the solid black granite VJAMM obelisk since its dedication in April 2017.

The VJAMM Committee thanks Girl Scout Troop 5325 and the Junior Young Buddhist Association, both sponsored by the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple; and the Dolphins girls’ basketball team for polishing the VJAMM and sweeping up the sidewalk and curbside debris more than once.

YouthBuild, a program of Venice Community Housing, however, has been regularly maintaining the VJAMM since August 2018, and has returned to the northwest corner of Venice and Lincoln boulevards to polish the black granite obelisk for a total of eight times through July 2019. They have already scheduled another maintenance for August.

June 14 cleanup crew: Carmen Lopez, Juan Cabrera, Cesar Garcia, Rafael Cruz, Robert Garcia.

At the VJAMM Commemoration on April 18, Tijana Quilici of Venice Community Housing’s YouthBuild program thanked the VJAMM for its partnership with the community service component of YouthBuild. YouthBuild offers diverse youth between 18 and 24 years of age choices in completing a high school diploma, job training and work experience in construction, and leadership development through community service projects.

Both VJAMM and YouthBuild, said Quilici, share a common “purpose in standing up against injustice and ensuring we know our painful histories as a means of preventing future injustice.”

Orlando Nava now serves as YouthBuild case manager, and has brought YouthBuild volunteers to the VJAMM for a history lesson and community service. The VJAMM Committee sincerely thanks not only the YouthBuild volunteers, but also expresses appreciation to the local restaurants who have donated lunches for the volunteers, including Baby Blues BBQ, The Great Western Steak and Hoagie Company, Rutt’s Café, Marie Callender’s, Feast from the East, Sakura Japanese Restaurant, James’ Beach, and Hama Sushi in Venice.

If you would like your youth organization to help maintain the VJAMM, or if your restaurant would like to donate lunch for about ten volunteers, please contact Phyllis Hayashibara at [email protected] For more information about the VJAMM, please visit www.venicejamm.org or follow venicejamm.org on Facebook.

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