Okinawa Holiday Boutique Led by Youth Volunteer

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T-shirts created by Melissa Tran will be featured at the OAA holiday boutique on Dec. 9.

GARDENA — The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) in Gardena will host its first-ever mini craft fair on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the OAA Center, Room 103.

Parking is limited; street-side parking is available. Space is also limited, so there may be a waiting period to avoid overcrowding.

Though small in size, this holiday boutique is unique in that it will include some Okinawa- themed items such as art prints, greeting cards, tote bags, and T-shirts. The organization also hopes that the event will benefit youth, independent creators, and community vendors by providing a platform to showcase their work.

This event is being led by one of the OAA’s youngest volunteers, Melissa Tran. “If my mom hadn’t brought me to all the meetings and events to volunteer, I wouldn’t be here today coordinating an event like this, or know this much about my family, ancestors, or even myself,” she said. “I’m truly thankful that there are places like OAA to teach people of all ages about themselves and sharing their culture.”

In addition to learning practical skills and meeting new friends, Melissa’s countless volunteer hours at the OAA have inspired her to study traditional Okinawan patterns and ways to implement those into her own work. “Learning about [our]heritage is important because if we don’t learn, I believe that we will never truly know a part of ourselves,” the young artist added. “[The craft fair is] not just an event for fun, but one to share our culture through our expression of art.”

Miwa Kayama designs greeting cards with Okinawa themes.

Confirmed Vendors (subject to change without notice)

Arakaki & Associates: Okinawa- and Japanese-themed mugs, pouches, tote/wine bags, and more.

Choichi Kai L.A.: handmade arts and crafts, baked goods.

Flor Kaneshiro: Okinawa-themed art prints/postcards, buttons, stickers.

Melissa’s Creations (Melissa Tran): handmade bookmarks, magnets, notebooks, postcards, and more including, Okinawa-themed items.

OAA: white elephant sale plus Okinawa-themed tote bags and T-shirts.

Sent by Seeds (Miwa K. Kayama): greeting cards and postcards, including Okinawa- and Japanese-themed items.

Janice Yamanaka: handmade crafts, jewelry, magnets, origami, ornaments, pins, and more, including Japanese-themed items.

Postcard by Flor Kaneshiro.

Canned Food Drive

As a way to give back to the community, the OAA will be having a charity drive for children in need. Guests are encouraged to bring shelf-stable food items (e.g., canned foods, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, powdered milk, etc.), which will be donated to a local food bank.

For more information, contact the OAA office, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: (310) 532- 1929, [email protected]

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