June 2023 Newsletter

Thank you for your generous donation for Big Day of Giving 2023

SASF sincerely thanks you for your donation during the 2023 Big Day of Giving! Your willingness to support SASF and its programs through this year’s Big Day of Giving, helps ensure that we can continue to support our community members in many different ways. Your donation will allow SASF to provide programs that are designed to enrich and connect our community members. Again, we would like to express our gratitude for your generous donation.

Thank you for your time and support,
SASF Big Day of Giving Committee

A warm welcome and introduction to SASF's newest Board Members!

Nicole Brown

My life started out as a "military brat". It was a privilege that my father was in the Air Force. My family and I traveled all over the nation and abroad. We've lived in Mississippi, London, North Dakota, Japan, and Washington state to name a few. We finally landed in Sacramento as long-term residents starting in the late 1970’s. The 70's in Sacramento – I was too young to be a hippie and old enough to know how to stay out of trouble!

I attended CSUS, majoring in psychology and communications. Since my school years were rough due to excessive bullying, I developed a passion for helping people, especially young people. These early career experiences piqued my interest in mental health and positivity in the face of adversity. As part of my college experience, I volunteered at an agency for runaways and other troubled youth, "Diogenes Youth Center".

At CSUS, I earned a dual master's degree in education counseling and school psychology with a commitment to interrupting the cycle of bullying wherever I was employed. As a school counselor, I have trained students in conflict management, disrupting, and preventing bullying behaviors, improving communication skills, and educating young people on appropriate, safe, and sane social behaviors and decision-making – even in the face of peer pressure and bullying. I have helped educate parents in these areas as well.

Through my work at Diogenes, I gained counseling skills and greater insight into what happens when young people are not supported well by their communities and what happens when trauma goes untreated. This is where I rediscovered my love for helping young people recover from trauma and begin to see and experience life through a different set of lenses. In 2020, SASF invited me as a local counseling educator to assist in their work in supporting the healthy development of our local youth. These experiences have been exceptional and that is why I am so pleased to serve on the SASF Board of Directors.

With 34 years in the field of school counseling, including an administrative credential, I am now intricately involved in developing comprehensive school programs for students that include addressing all forms of bullying and educating students and parents about colleges and careers. SASF is a wonderful partnering agency for upgrading mental health outreach to more young people in our local area.

Joel Kunisaki

I am currently an Assistant Principal in the Elk Grove School District, Katherine L. Albiani Middle School. I have been an educator for the past six years. The first four years, I was a middle school ELA/Social Science teacher. In 2021, I became an Assistant Principal at C.K. McClatchy High School and this year I left to go to my current placement.

I decided to become part of the SASF Board because I want to give back to the community that helped me become the person I am today. I am very fortunate to have been a part of this community and I know that I would not be in the position I am now without it. I want to make sure that the kids in this community can gain similar skills that I acquired through the opportunities that SASF provided me with the hope that those kids will be able to take those skills and apply them in other aspects in their lives to be successful. I also think it is important to continue building our community as we look to provide more opportunities for kids to participate and take pride in.

Keilani Paneda

Keilani's work experience is nothing short of a commitment to "servant leadership". Her involvement with SASF began at the age of 13 — volunteering at SASF's annual crab feeds. She since spent many years playing and coaching youth basketball at SASF, organized fundraising events for the new gym and was president of SASF’s Junior Board of Directors.

Keilani has been actively serving the Sacramento community for over a decade. She served as the District Representative for Sacramento City Councilmember Jay Schenirer, assisting with education reform and youth policy and currently serves as community health coordinator for Sutter Health, working collaboratively with community-based organizations, local health systems, city and county government on community health initiatives to increase access to healthcare and address social determinants of health.

Her impact in the community makes her a strong addition to our board. Keilani’s steadfast work in community health in Sacramento will empower SASF to inspire the next generation of youth to share the importance of empowering oneself through giving back to our community — because it is simply the right thing to do.

Keilani holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis and a Masters of Public Administration, University of San Francisco.

Ava Bradford

I grew up in Vacaville California as a military brat. Once I graduated from high school, I went to Solano Community College for two years, and later transferred to California State, University Sacramento College (Sac State) where I graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. However, before transferring to Sac State, I took a break from school and went into the Airforce Reserves in Air Transportation assigned to the 82nd Aerial Port Squadron at Travis Air Force Base where I retired as a Master Sergeant in 2015. As I progressed in the military, I gained great leadership experience and resilience.

After graduating from Sac State, my career began with Sprint Telecommunications, now T-Mobil (Sprint). Sprint is where I gained experience in contract billing, procurement, and project management. This was followed by work at the State of California with the Department of Finance (DOF) as an auditor for a few years, fully retiring in 2018. Since retiring, I did some volunteer work with a startup recycling company as a bookkeeper for about two years. DOF and the recycling company is where I gained experience in accounting and really enjoyed doing this type of work.

One of my reasons that I am interested in being on the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Board (SASF) is my enjoyment in doing accounting work. I believe I can give back to the community by using my accounting skills to help SASF. I also believe in SASF’s commitment to helping young people through their sports program.

All throughout my grade school and high school years, and even as an adult, I played sports, such as volleyball, basketball, softball, and track. I love sports because of the comradery, and it was fun being around my teammates. Being in the military and playing sports taught me so much about teamwork, sportsmanship, character, leadership, and caring for your fellow teammate and/or airman; consequently, these skills helped me to be successful in my professional life as well as my personal life. I think it is important to get young people involved in sports because it really builds great character, and it provides them with invaluable skills that they will use throughout their lives.

I am also a big advocate of young people going into the military. I really think it benefits young people who do not know what they want to do in life. The military gives young people structure and discipline. It also offers so many benefits, such as paid education, travel, and so much more. In my military and personal life, I have traveled many places. What I have learned is, people all over the world want the same things in life: the ability to find love, take care of their families, live in peace, and enjoy life. The world is much less intimidating when you travel outside of your comfort zone. Over and beyond that, you learn to understand, appreciate, and embrace the beauty of culture, diversity, and the uniqueness of everyone.

Donate to Chris Wong's PG&E Community Connect Giving Fund and PG&E will match your donation!

Growing up with SASF, Chris is giving back through PG&E’s match program which matches donations dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.

I grew up in this program, first in summer basketball league and giving back as a basketball coach and referee. This organization does so much for the communities of Sacramento and Elk Grove. Their dedication to youth development through sports and leadership programs include teen women empowerment, talent shows completely organized by youth, and basketball, ages 7-18. They have added new programs to address teen mental health and a fishing derby for special needs youth. Pickleball for Seniors continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Other youth programs include expanded use of the kitchen in conjunction with SMUD.

Join me and my friends who participated in SASF programs and are now giving back in different ways. Please donate using the PG&E YourCause website. If you encounter any issues, reach out to Eric Wong at erw@surewest.net.

Congrats to SPARK graduates, Class of 2023! A message from Sofia Flores, Cal Poly SLO bound

I first heard about SASF from the Elk Grove Unified School district. With my mom being a school counselor within this district, she mentioned the foundation to me and I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it. After doing my research and gaining more knowledge about SASF, I came across a volunteering activity called “SPARKS” (suicide prevention awareness reflection knowledge). For this event, I had to go through several summer training sessions where I learned more about mental health, how to help my peers who are struggling with it, and become a teen mentor where I was able to provide my guidance and care to others. Because these training sessions were happening in summer of 2021, covid caused us to use zoom. Despite the hardships of not being socially interactive with other mentors, I was able to provide my input through chat rooms where I discovered positive ways to cope with my mental health along with why people struggle with their health mentally, physically, and emotionally. After 3 weeks of zoom training, I became more sympathetic for those who are struggling with their health and ultimately became more confident when helping others.

Given the fact I attended the training sessions over the summer, it all led to the SPARKS event put on by Kaiser Permanente. For this event, volunteers put on an acting performance where they demonstrated how to detect signs of suicide, help someone when they are going through a depression episode, and support them with guidance and care. While this performance was happening via zoom, several teens throughout the Elk Grove Unified School district along with myself and other mentors were able to interact with one another and share our feedback. I also got to share aloud my personal experiences with my mental health and certain things I like to do to help with it.

After the event, I genuinely believe my input and voice made a huge impact on teens who are struggling with their mental health. By interacting with teens of all ages, I learned that everyone has a story and we have no right to judge or discriminate against someone because we never know what they are going through. I am grateful I got the opportunity to be a part of an inspiring event like this one and know I will utilize this knowledge throughout my lifetime. I was introduced to genuine people who have influenced who I am today.

Thank you for your support for the 2023 SASF Golf Tournament at Valley Hi Country Club!

On Monday May 22, SASF held its second annual SASF Golf Tournament Fundraiser at Valley Hi Country Club. The weather was perfect and the course was in great condition for a fun round of golf and camaraderie with our supporters. Attendance was down this year but participants reported they had a great time. It is rewarding for the SASF Golf Committee to hear golfers enjoyed the day and looked forward to return next year. SASF is looking to secure May 20, Monday for next years event again at Valley Hi.

Thank you, Valley Hi Country Club! Valley Hi really accommodates all of us and Head Professional Todd Smith is a big reason we will return. It’s a pleasure to work with Todd and his assistance with tournament setup is invaluable. The last two years I have gotten to know Todd and found out he played golf and basketball for the University of Colorado. He grew up in San Mateo and as a youth, Todd played Asian basketball.

I did hear from several people that they would have attended the event but did not receive the information. The Golf committee will address this topic so hopefully we will have a full field of 144 golfers next year. So please help us get the word out for next year! May 20, 2024, join the SASF Golf Tournament at Valley Hi Country Club for another memorable day!

A big thank you to our sponsors Raleys, Law Office of Alyssa Eriko Chow, PC, Curtis Ishii, Power Electric, and Liberation Foods!

Last but not least, here are the 2023 results, congrats to all the winners. Thank you for playing!

Putting Contest

  • Gordon Kunisaki

Closest to the Pin

  • Hole #5 Women: Lisa Gonzales
  • Hole #5 Men: Richie Sawamura
  • Hole #14 Women: Jayne Moore
  • Hole #14 Men: Randal Beebe
  • Hole #16: Ronnie Tsumura

Mens/Coed Division

  • 1st Place: Dylan Howland, Randall Beebe, Joe Bellecci, Manny Estrada
  • 2nd Place: Sean Wong, Riley Wong, Tai Mamea, Brittany Riggs
  • Consolation: Derek Ledda, Luci Wong, Dee Brown, Les Mar

Womens Division

  • 1st Place: Lisa Gonzales, Sharon Simas, Jayne Moore, Annette Wegesend
  • Consolation: Jean Chong, Nanci Dong, Jeanette Chan, Judy Lim

2023 SASF Basic Hoops Clinic is now sold out! Thank you for your support!

Thank you to everyone who registered for the 2023 Basic Hoops Clinic! We sold out in less than 24 hours. We really appreciate the support! Can't wait to hoop with you this summer!


We are extremely grateful to the many individuals, families and businesses who continue to support and donate to the SASF throughout the year. Thank you for the following donations received this past month:

  • Susan Moertz for Pickleball for Seniors
  • Kenneth Gromacki
  • Piedgeling Foundation
  • Janet Quok for Pickleball
  • Barbara Nakano
  • Gordon & Donna Kunisaki in memory of Jim Kawano
  • Kenneth Shiba in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Bob & Susan Takeda in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Curtis Scott Lewis in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Ayumi & Bruce Chin in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Walter & Kathy Menda in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Gordon & Donna Kunisaki in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Michael Ota in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Alice Okimura in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Martha & Bruce Kushida in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Ron Onodera in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • David Wakabayashi in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Terrie Zimbelman St. Clair in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Nadine & Larry Fong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Betty Wong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Tsuto & Jean Ota in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Donna Ouchida in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Alan Goldstein in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Joni Yamamoto in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Kimberly Tong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Janice Takeuchi in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Denise McCarville in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Margie Sunahara in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Tamaru Charitable in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Tea Cozy in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Donald Lee in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Ellen Kwong in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Lori Tsukiji in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Jeff & Teresa Harada in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • KCMKC, LLC in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Nancy Lee in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Karen Cotton in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Walsh Automotive Service in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Jerry Chong in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • J&J Enterprises in honor of Angelo Tsakopoulos
  • Boon & Sheryl Seto in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Alvin & Debra Iwamura in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Eric & Elizabeth Fujii in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Calvin Tong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Hiroshi E Yamamoto in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Janice & Sylvia Ouchida in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Carolyn & Dennis Murata in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Gloria & King Gee in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Jeff & Teresa Harada in memory of Barry Lee
  • Henry Wong in memory of Sau Low Yee
  • Mamie's Administrative Service in memory of Dennis Chan
  • Grand & Susan Shimizu in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • John & Susan Iwamoto in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Lloyd Okimura in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Judy & Gary Tow in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Pau & Judith Fong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Scott Okimura in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Hamilton Wong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • William Kramer in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Linda Yamashita in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • David Radcliffe in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Richard & Linda Don in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Marie Difuntorum in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Judy & Raymond Ogata in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Jennifer Greenfield in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Janny Chan in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Dennis & Nelly Shun in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Russell Ouchida in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Carolyn Nunn-Lum in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Judy Tsurutani in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • John & Cheryl Bennett in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Steven Chu in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Clifford & Anna Wong in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Michele Cantu-Reynolds in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Gwen Johnson in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Clint & Nikki Taura in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Vincent & Rosa Lee in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Naomi N Hamamoto in memory of Wayne Ouchida
  • Stanley Hiuga for vehicle donation
  • Sherman Iida for vehicle donation

SASF relies on the generous donations from community members to fund the day-to-day operations of the facility, and the support for sports and youth programs.

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