Lederer retired in 1971 and began channeling her energies toward community volunteer work. She volunteered at a drug rehabilitation agency in the Lower East Side, the Japanese American Help for the Aging, and the Japanese American Senior Support Group. She founded Japanese American Social Services, Inc. (JASSI) in 1981, and with volunteers Kimi Shimizu and Cyril Nishimoto and a small start-up fund, began providing free counseling services to Japanese seniors at her home. JASSI’s services quickly grew to encompass legal and immigration services; assistance to restaurant workers, abused women, and international students; and a support group in Japanese. In addition to her work with JASSI, she also served on the boards of the Asian American Federation of New York, The Methodist Church Home for the Aged, and the Japanese American Association of New York. She was the recipient of many honors in recognition of her work, including the Ellis Island Honorary Award, Justice in Action Award, and The Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan.
The collection contains photographs, correspondence, oral history transcriptions, videos, and cassette tapes that document Midori Shimanouchi Lederer’s professional career and many contributions as a long-time volunteer community worker within the Japanese and Japanese American community.
To learn more about the contents of the Midori Shimanouchi Lederer Papers, located at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.