On Saturday, April 23, 2022, over 50 community members gathered for the launch of an inaugural program out in Ventura County at the Thousand Oaks Library. Janice Tanaka, a member of the Ventura County Japanese American Citizens League, took lead in applying for Keiro’s Grants Program to begin this new endeavor for Ventura County residents.
Surrounded by laughter, Japanese bento delivered from Gardena, and entertainment, the Happiness, Health, Heritage, @ Home (HHHH) program kicked off with a welcome luncheon. Participants 60 and over were invited back to an in-person gathering by singing performances, a trivia game, a discussion about aging and caregiving needs, and even a boxing demonstration.
At the luncheon, Janice shared her experience caring for her sister who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and how that inspired her to create a new program. “The process of diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and hospice care went by so fast that I was chasing information every day and trying to find quality care and resources. I regret not having attended more Keiro events and watching their online content.” Through various support from friends, family, and community members, she realized the importance of a support system to connect everyone to share resources and support each other.
“Through my journey, I realized that we—everyone here in this room today—needs to be connected so we can support one another by sharing resources and information.”
The program aims to not only have gatherings, but also to build programs and a support network for older adults in the future that will fulfill the needs of the local members residing in Ventura County.
After the closing of the program, many stayed to enjoy much-missed conversations with newly created friends, as well as reconnecting with familiar faces to catch up for the first time in two years.