Keiro interviewed Gary Kawaguchi and Judy Asazawa, core members of Visions, about the group’s history, different activities and programs offered, and its impact on Keiro.
Visions started as a group of Sansei young professionals who came together in the late 1980s to provide various activities to the residents of Keiro’s former facilities and raise awareness among the younger generation. It eventually evolved into a key group that helped with fundraising and bringing intergenerational interactions with the residents.
Gary recalled that it all began when Margaret Endo (Shimada), who was the head of development at Keiro at that time, called him and a few other families in 1988. At that time, many Sanseis had just started their families. They first hosted a family-friendly event called “Yuppie Yaki” which attracted 300-500 people to enjoy a day full of food and entertainment. The purpose was for the Sansei generation to gather and learn about Keiro’s work.
Eventually, the group move on to fundraising for Keiro through events such as Casino Night, Annual Charity Golf Classic, and more.
Regarding the impact of Visions, Gary shared, “Over the years, we brought a lot of awareness to both our friends and our children, and we were also able to raise funds for Keiro. The same people got together every year. It was fun!”
Judy had relatives who lived in the facilities, so she wanted to give back where she could. Judy said, “We realized that as Sanseis, we needed to step up as the Niseis were retiring. We wanted the future generations to continue this legacy. While we couldn’t make a large financial impact at that time, beginning to plant those seeds was important.”
Gary added, “A lot of people my age didn’t know there was Keiro, so it was important to let them know there are organizations like this, built by and for our grandparents, parents, and hopefully future generations.”
Among the many programs, Holiday Bingo is one tradition that continues, providing various intergenerational opportunities for youths, where Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts enjoy activities with the residents. They shared that Visions still continues to help and support Keiro’s work. Gary said, “Any time Keiro needs our help, whether it’s events in the community or fundraising, I’m sure we can get our friends to come out and assist.”