The Pay It Forward Challenge
Takae organizes volunteers for a cleanup day, then purchases cleaning supplies, T-shirts and food for the workers. "I hope those people living around the area will appreciate [the effort], or at least feel better about living here in Boyle Heights, where crime rates are high and a lot of violence still exists," Takae says.
She also has something special for one of the volunteers, Yoshiko Fujita. After six surgeries for a brain tumor, Yoshiko is on the road to recovery and ready to leave her wheelchair behind. Takae surprises Yoshiko with a new walker with wheels, so she can be more mobile. Yoshiko was happy to come out to help with the street cleaning project, saying, "Now I can take care of me, so next I have to do a good thing for other people."
The experience of "paying it forward" was so rewarding for Takae that even an accident totaling her car wasn't devastating. "I thought I would be depressed, but I was so happy that I went and helped others," she explains. "I was lucky, but who knows—maybe because I was doing my good deeds, someone was watching over me!"