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, due to the World War II internment and subsequent urban redevelopment projects that originated in the 1950’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 community’s social fabric began to change. In 1969, a collection of Japanese American youth organizations established a youth council. The intent of the council was to serve as a forum for sharing information, discussing issues affecting 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 youth, it identified the need for a facility. 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 five 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 7,000 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. In addition to providing direct services, JCYC has also organized and continues to lead some of the largest and most successful youth collaborations in San Francisco.