Chihyun was raised in Koreatown and was the Media Director of KYCC’s YDAPP—Youth Drug Abuse Prevention Program—a leadership program that trains youth advocates to raise substance abuse awareness among their peers in Koreatown and neighboring communities. He was also a K-Town is Your Town youth participant. He is currently a first-year student at UC Riverside, but this interview took place when he was a high school senior.
Where is your hometown?
My hometown is Koreatown. I’ve lived in Koreatown for almost my entire life. My elementary school was in Koreatown and I went to John Burroughs Middle School. I was born in Korea and lived there for six years—I went to preschool there, but I don’t have many memories of Korea.
Do you live or work in Koreatown?
I am the media director of KYCC’s YDAPP—the Youth Drug Abuse Prevention Program. This is my second year in the position. Our goal is to promote a marijuana-free lifestyle. We host workshops, volunteer events and do activities. My job is to record all of YDAPP’s events and post them on social media.
My parents also work in Koreatown. My dad is one of the heads of Hannam Chain. It’s a supermarket chain with about ten locations in Southern California. It’s older and more special than the new supermarket chains, like H Mart, Zion Market and Gaju Market. I always tell my dad to destroy Hannam Chain and make a new building that is more eye-catching.
What are your thoughts on Koreatown today?
It’s pretty lively. There are a lot of things to do like eating, swimming, bowling and going to karaoke. But since there are so many things to do—and I’ve tried most of them—it gets boring, too. I like it here but it could be better. It’s not the best place but also not the worst place. There are certain areas with many gang affiliations and homeless people. I think workshops and cleanups would really help improve the community.
Where is your favorite place in Koreatown?
The Chipotle Mexican Grill on Vermont and Wilshire. I go with my friend, Esther. I go twice a week, so everyone who works there knows me. I also like Hancock Park because there are many trees and the houses are nice. Or the ghetto areas of Koreatown, because the mood there is very dramatic.