Prior to World War II, large concentrations of Japanese settled in a small area of San Francisco’s Western Addition known as “Nihonmachi” or Japantown. However, as a result of the World War II internment and subsequent urban redevelopment projects of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Japanese American families were eventually dispersed throughout San Francisco.
As Japanese American residents slowly moved away from the Nihonmachi area and tourist oriented, commercial businesses emerged, the social fabric of the community began to change. In 1969, a group of Japanese American youth organizations established a youth council. The intent of the council was to serve as a forum for information sharing and discussion of issues impacting young people and to help re-establish Nihonmachi as a center of activities for Japanese American youth. This council eventually came to be known as the Japanese Community Youth Council.
As the council began to address the concerns of young people, the need for a facility was identified. A vacant, two-story building on Sutter Street was transformed into the first JCYC facility and was the genesis for the eventual development of a multi-service community center. In May of 1970, JCYC was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.
Over the past four decades, JCYC has become one of San Francisco’s most successful youth organizations. While still committed to children and youth from the Japanese American community, JCYC has evolved and grown into an organization, which annually serves over 8,000 young people from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Through a continuum of services, JCYC programs can support children and youth from the time they start pre-school until they are ready to move onto college. The organization strives to offer young people a comprehensive array of services to ensure that they have the resources and support necessary to grow into healthy, productive adults.
In addition to providing direct services, JCYC has also organized and led some of the largest and most successful youth collaborations in San Francisco.