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Friday, April 19, 2024

New chairwoman sets out to facilitate generational change at Koreatown senior center

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Yong Sin Shin, new chairwoman of the Korea Town Senior and Community Center, has an interview with the Korea Daily on June 27. [Suah Jang, The Korea Daily]
Yong Sin Shin, 63, the newly elected chairwoman of the Korea Town Senior and Community Center, is determined to bring about generational change for the center’s development.

Shin, who previously served as the senior center’s vice president and senior vice chairwoman, was elected as the 9th chairwoman on June 20, receiving unanimous support from the board of directors.

This marks the first time a female board member has been elected as chairwoman since the senior center’s establishment a decade ago. The inauguration ceremony for the new director will take place in August.

Starting her official two-year term on July 1, Shin was one of the 14 individuals who pledged $1.4 million in funding for the senior center over the next 10 years in December last year.

Alongside her commitment to the senior center, Shin has successfully run BICICI&COTY, a wholesaler of high-end women’s clothing, including wedding dresses, for nearly 30 years. She has been a board member of the senior center since July 2019.

To gain further insights into her plans for the future, the Korea Daily conducted an interview with Shin at the senior center on June 27.

The following is an edited excerpt of the interview.

– How did you feel about being elected?
“In the past 10 years, the board members consisted mostly of first-generation immigrants, with an average age of 70-80. It was collectively agreed upon that generational change was necessary for the future development of the senior center. I feel a sense of responsibility, like a daughter taking over her father’s business. I aim to develop areas where the younger generation can contribute while cherishing the wisdom of the seniors. Additionally, I will be attentive to the needs of the seniors, employing the sensitivity and meticulousness of a woman.”

– How will you compose the board of directors?
“To start, we have elected nine new younger directors, bringing the total number of directors to 32. Five of the new directors were nominated by their respective banks to represent them. The youngest board member is a lawyer in his 30s. The inclusion of these young professionals enhances the security and professionalism of our fundraising efforts.”

– Are there any changes expected at the senior center this year?
“Starting this semester (July-September), COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, allowing for an increased number of people per class, ranging from 60 to 100 participants. The total number of subjects offered has also expanded to 41, which will significantly increase the number of visitors to the senior center.”

– What will be your main focus?
“Funding. Although I can’t provide an exact number, our goal is to gather meaningful contributors every year, ensuring that the center can develop for future generations without financial burdens. We will also strive to secure funding from sources outside the Korean community, such as government support.”

– What initiatives do you have in mind for the development of the senior center?
“We plan to address three core issues related to seniors, namely healthcare, transportation, and housing. Currently, we provide medical knowledge to seniors through regular seminars, and we have achieved positive outcomes, such as the recent installation of a left turn traffic signal at the Normandy/Olympic road intersection due to the collective voice of seniors. Regarding housing issues, we have a meeting scheduled for June 29 with officials from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, along with attorneys from the senior center. Our aim is to establish a foundation by exploring mutual interests and subsequently deepening the relationship to create projects.”

– How will you change the environment surrounding the center?
“An Olympic Gateway will be constructed at the intersection of Olympic and Normandy streets. Additionally, a Korean-style park will be developed near the center. This park will serve as a shelter for Korean seniors and a venue for outdoor events. Together with the senior center, it will become the centerpiece of Koreatown, showcasing the unique Korean style.”

– What do you expect from the Korean American community?
“The senior center represents the first public facility catering to Korean seniors in the 120-year history of Korean immigration. There is no other similar facility for Korean seniors elsewhere in the United States. We rely on the support of Korean American banks and businesses to ensure that the senior center continues to serve as a vital community hub.”

BY SUAH JANG   [support@koreadaily.com]