• WHO WE ARE

We envision a world where hope lives and the cycle of despair ends.

Since its founding in 2014, Project Kinship has experienced significant growth as an organization and is now providing support for re-entry to schools and the workforce.

OUR MISSION

The mission of Project Kinship is to provide support and training to lives impacted by incarceration, gangs, and violence through hope, healing, and transformation.

Steven Kim

Executive Director & Co-Founder

Steven Kim is the Co-Founder of Project Kinship where he serves individuals impacted by gangs and incarceration, with the aim to successfully re-integrate them back into the workforce, schools, and community. His dedication to breaking cycles of incarceration, gang membership, and community violence stems from over 15 years working with traumatized and abandoned youth throughout Orange County.

Steven is highly regarded for his human rights work in the field of Forensic Social Work where he led multi-disciplinary teams to identify early childhood traumas on high-profile death penalty cases. He is sought out for his expertise on understanding root causes of violence and has facilitated trainings on the state and federal levels of the criminal justice system. He is currently an adjunct professor with the University of Southern California at the School of Social Work. Steven holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from USC.

Steven’s combination of life experience and unending heart for the abandoned, disenfranchised continues to be the driving force behind standing together in the margins of inequality among gang and formerly incarcerated populations to create a hope for the future.

Yumiko Whitaker

Associate Executive Director

Yumiko Whitaker brings over 25 years of management and leadership experience to Project Kinship. She is a strategist, problem-solver and collaborator who is ideally suited to serve the bustling entity toward its next iteration.

A native of Los Angeles’ Crenshaw district who obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University, while working for the Los Angeles Municipal Courts and Ocean Park Community Center, Yumiko possesses a lifelong ethos of serving people and community. Her time as an Aide to the California State Senator who served as Chair of Health and Human Services afforded her the ability to work with a plethora of community-based organizations throughout the city, county, and state — at a time when gang violence was rampant, the war on drugs took shape and the civil unrest unfolded.

Yumiko’s unique blend of people skills and business savvy has bolstered the progress of each entity she has worked with, including American Cancer Society, Gap, Inc., and IKEA. With her own consultancy, she has buffeted the business operations, marketing, and public relations of several nonprofits, government entities and private companies.

She is equally passionate about Project Kinship as a place where everyone belongs and aims to position it for further success.