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Our Mission

Korean Family

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower immigrants in the Bay Area through access to education, services, resources and advocacy. We are a bridge helping individuals get needed resources at critical moments in their lives.

 

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Our Vision

Our Vision

Our vision is a world where immigrants and refugees thrive in an inclusive and equitable society and everyone has access to basic health care, housing, work and can be part of a safe, healthy and thriving community.

 

Our History

Early Settlement

Koreans first settled in the Bay Area in the 1900s. The Oakland Korean Methodist Church provided support to these early immigrants.

1977 The Beginning

Five community activists founded the Korean Community Center of the East Bay with support from the Methodist Church. Our mission is to assist newcomer Koreans in accessing basic needs and services.
MLK March with KCCEB Banner

1980 Establishing Non-Profit Status

KCCEB becomes an independent non-profit agency. Essential services for newcomers include: Social services, ESL classes, job skills training and senior citizens services.
Women cooking together

1983 Our First Home

One hundred people pledge to make donations. Their contributions sponsor KCCEB’s first office location at 3538 Telegraph Ave in Oakland.

1984-1989 Koryo Village Center

KCCEB supports a small business incubator project. The project becomes the Koryo Village Center, opening its doors in 1989 at Telegraph Avenue and 44th Street in Oakland.

1991-1996 Immigration & Advocacy

Increasing anti-immigrant sentiment in California propels KCCEB to respond. In 1991, KCCEB hosts its first monthly immigration clinic.
Immigration lawers

1991-1996 Immigration & Advocacy

KCCEB joins coalition efforts to protest the passage of Proposition 187, a proposition that would deny healthcare and public education services for undocumented immigrants residing in California.

1992-1995 Small Business Community

After Sa-I-Gu (the 1992 LA Riots that resulted in devastation for many Korean small businesses), KCCEB helps establish the K-town Family Fund and other programs to support safety, violence prevention and community building.

1992-1995 Small Business Community

Through the Small Business Technical Assistance & Awareness Project, KCCEB provides technical assistance to start-ups and expands Korean immigrant businesses.
Korya Village Plaza Grand Opening

1994 -2002 Youth Development

KCCEB develops afterschool classes and Korean cultural arts for 1.5-2nd generation youth. KCCEB also sponsors Han Ma Um, a youth leadership summer camp in collaboration with UC Berkeley students.

2000 Shimtuh Program

The Bay Area's first & only Korean language domestic violence victim’s assistance program is established in collaboration with Asian Women’s Shelter to address alarming rates of DV in the community.
Women Running Art

2000 Virtual Village Program

KCCEB develops the Virtual Village Program to build community capacity with local faith institutions.

2010 Environmental Scan

KCCEB conducts in-depth interviews with the community, laying the groundwork for KCCEB’s strategic framework for the next 10 years.

2011-2013 BIA Accreditation

KCCEB obtains BIA accreditation to provide credible immigration legal representation for low-income and indigent immigrants.

2013 Covered California

KCCEB is the leading API voice for Covered California in the Bay Area, outreaching to more than 30,000 individuals and enrolling more than 1,000 individuals in 37 cities since July 2013. 

2014-2016 KONA Report

KCCEB conducts and publishes the only disaggregated Korean health and social assessment study in the Bay Area with UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. KONA is used for data-based advocacy.

2017-2018 New Program Launch

KCCEB develops the R.I.P.E. model: Research, Innovation, Participation and Empowerment. Our Senior Jikimee Leaders speak at state and local advocacy meetings.
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2017-2018 New Program Launch

Asian Community Wellness Program provides mental health and wellness support to Korean and other East Asian communities. We launch BAKI, the only Korean language information, referral and navigation call center in the Bay Area.

2019-2020 Innovation & Collaborations

KCCEB partners with other immigrant/refugee serving organizations for greater impact on census engagement, youth leadership, mental health apps, immigration and naturalization and COVID-19 response.
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Team

June Lee

Chief Executive Officer
Bilingual in Korean and English
As Executive Director of KCCEB since 2010, June has led KCCEB to quadruple its revenue with a ten-fold increase in community membership.  Under June’s leadership KCCEB has shifted from primarily service delivery to an integrated approach
of service, research, and community engagement. June holds an M.S. in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining KCCEB, June was the Managing Director and Strategic planner of the Asia Pacific Region for major advertising agencies.

As an immigrant and mother of a teenage daughter, June is passionate about women’s empowerment issues. “I make the world a more wholesome place by helping disempowered people to realize their power and become active participants in our society.”

Una Chen, MFT

Chinese Program Coordinator and Wellness Counselor
Bilingual in Mandarin and English
Una works with local Bay Area high schools and senior centers to provide supportive counseling, with a focus on Mandarin-speakers. Una also uses her creativity to work at the intersection of mental health, technology, and storytelling.
She is the Project Coordinator for the WeCare Chinese language mental health app and creates communications and social media content for KCCEB.

Una has an MFT from Drexel University and a B.A. in Journalism from Shih Hsin University in Taiwan. As an immigrant from Taiwan, she deeply understands the challenges of immigrants in navigating unfamiliar systems and coping with mental, financial, and emotional struggles during the transition. Una loves working out after a full day of stress and, for Una, “NO Boba, NO life!”

Clinical Case Manager and Wellness Counselor

Esther Lee

Bilingual in Korean and English
Esther provides preventive counseling and case management support to Bay Area Korean seniors. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is currently a second-year Psy.D student. She has acquired experience working with the severely mentally
ill population from diverse backgrounds.

As an immigrant herself, Esther has a genuine heart for the immigrant community. It is her passion to bridge the cultural gap between her clients and society so that they can feel accepted and make their voices heard. Esther is a foodie and loves exploring local cafes and restaurants. Ddeokboki and K-food are very important elements of her life.

Hye-Yun Graves

Navigation Specialist and Data Coordinator
Bilingual in Korean and English
Hye-Yun provides resources to those who are in need and is involved in the Jikimee Senior Leadership Training Program and the BAKI program. In her previous life, she worked with children for more than 10 years.
By working with children and their parents, she started to ask: What else can I do for my community? And that is how a new chapter of her life began.

Hye-Yun developed a strong sense of devotion to make a community in a healthier and better way while working in another community center. Her experience gave her a deep appreciation for an organization like KCCEB for how to bring positive changes into the community with passion and effort. In her spare time, she loves taking a walk and watching movies.

Art Choi

Information and Referral Specialist

Jisoo Kim

Bilingual in Korean and English
Jisoo provides resources and referral navigation support for the Bay Area Asian community. In addition to that, Jisoo is passionate about fighting systemic injustice, human trafficking, and basic human rights. Jisoo was born in South Korea,
has lived in Arizona, and spent most of her life in Southern California, until college brought her to the Bay Area.

Jisoo received her B.S. in nutritional science dietetics from UC Berkeley and loves talking about food and nutrition as a form of preventative medicine. She has experience in patient interaction and practice in nutrition education and counseling. When Jisoo is not working, she loves to watch Netflix, solo travel, discovering new cafes and restaurants on Yelp, reading, and doing puzzles.

Amy G. Lam, MA, PhD

Chief Program Strategist
Since 2016, Amy (she/they) has led the development of new projects and programs at KCCEB. Amy’s focus is to create projects that are responsive to community needs and strengthen the community mental health and social service arms of KCCEB through grant writing.

Amy
has a MA in Counseling Psychology (UCSB), PhD in Cultural/Social Psychology (UCD) and postdoctoral fellowship in Psychology and Medicine (UCSF). Amy brings over 15 years of grassroots experience in developing innovative and culturally-resonant programs, using art as a tool for community building, empowerment and healing, and expert grant writing.

When she is not at KCCEB, Amy is walking along the ocean or writing at her computer. Amy is an energy healer and a published poet, playwright and composer, working on her first musical.

Amy’s mantra is: “Let’s dream the world we want to see into being.”

Pysay Phinith, LCSW

Yeri Shon, MPH, MSW

Staff Attorney
Bilingual in Korean and English
Yeri focuses on integrating and evaluating programmatic work to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness. Yeri previously worked at KCCEB from 2011-2016 where she led direct service delivery and community engagement. She played a critical role in
strategizing and successfully implementing an unprecedented ACA education and outreach campaign to reach 15,000 API community members.

Yeri completed her MPH/MSW from the University of Michigan and has a BS in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. Coming from a struggling immigrant family and with over nine years working at non-profit organizations, Yeri developed insights into how systemic barriers cause social inequities leading to negative health outcomes. During her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring diverse eateries around the Bay Area, and being a die-hard Warriors fan when the basketball season starts.

Yu Seoun Lhim, JD, MSW

Staff Attorney, Immigration Legal Service
Yu Seoun joins KCCEB in the fall of 2020 as a staff attorney for Immigration Legal Service. Prior to joining KCCEB, she began her legal career as an excelsior service legal fellow at the Counsel’s Office of the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, where she handled a variety of projects with regard to Medicaid-related administrative hearings, litigations, and stipulations of settlement.

While in law school, she expanded her commitment to public interest. As a student attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic, she successfully represented undocumented minors who had fled gang violence and/or abuse in Central America in guardianship and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status proceedings. She was the recipient of the Immigration Law Clinic Award of the year as a result of her zealous advocacy. She externed with the Health Care Bureau, Division of Social Justice of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. There, she participated in various health care consumer projects to safeguard New Yorkers’ health care rights. She interned at the Nassau Suffolk Law Services, working on a wide range of poverty issues, including family law, government benefits, and housing law matters. As a judicial extern, worked for the Hon. Theresa Whelan at the Suffolk County Family Court for the 10th Judicial District of New York, where she got involved in numerous child protective proceedings related to child abuse and neglect.

Prior to entering law school, she served as a program director and medical social worker in a community-based health care center for low-income older adults and people with disabilities for several years. Before the position, she interned with the Older Adults Program of the Special Service for Groups, focusing on health disparities among vulnerable communities. She also interned at the Korean American Family Service Center in Los Angeles, where she facilitated court-ordered parenting and domestic violence classes and provided counseling sessions.

Donna Jung

Health Promotion Instructor
Bilingual in Korean and English
Art has spearheaded the Senior Wellness Program, coordinated the pro-bono legal clinics, and oversees the Senior Food Delivery Program. Art plays a critical role in sustaining partnerships and engaging community members while implementing programs that need
quick and effective responses due to COVID-19.

Art graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in International Political Economy and from Sogang University in Seoul, Korea with a MA in International Relations. Art has international consulting experience with business professionals from the U.S., Korea, China, and India. He is a Bay Area native and an avid Bay Area sports fan. Art’s hobbies include playing any sports, card and board games, watching movies and shows, eating everything, and being adventurous.

Catt Olazabal

Chief Financial Officer
Speaks English
Since 2012, Catt has guided KCCEB’s financial compliance and practices through the years of transition and growth. As KCCEB’s trusted CFO, she steers all aspects of finance from policy, practice, and governance.

Catt runs her own successful business in the
Bay Area, supporting multiple organizations in social services, housing, philanthropy, arts, and education. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Dancin’ Power, a nonprofit that provides interactive dance lessons to hospitalized children including those facing chronic and life-threatening illnesses.  Dancing’ Power uses the power of music and adaptive movement to bring joy to hospitalized children and their families.

Seokjune Hong

IT Volunteer
Bilingual in Korean and English
Seokjune has been KCCEB’s IT volunteer since 2014. He leverages his education and experience as a Software Engineer to troubleshoot KCCEB’s technical problems. He offers technical advice and support for IT hardware and software issues. Seokjune
has a degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

As a first-generation immigrant, he is keenly aware of the need to provide helpful information to all newcomers. He hopes that by volunteering, KCCEB staff have one less hurdle to deal with in their jobs.
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Join KCCEB Family

Interested to join? Check out our Careers.

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MHAP Program Interns

KCCEB’s Mental Health Asian Pipeline (MHAP) Program provides comprehensive community mental health service training with attention to culturally informed practices, advocacy, and innovation.

MHAP’s goal is to increase the number of mental health social workers in the U.S. with specialized experience with Koreans and other Asian immigrants.

We currently have six MSW Graduate Trainees in the Adult Mental Health and Community Mental Health concentrations.

First Year Trainees

  • Lydia Kim (English and Korean)
    University California of Berkeley (UCB)
  • Ellen Suh (English and Korean)
    University of Southern California (USC)
  • Jiaying Sophie Yang (English and Mandarin and Cantonese)
    University of Southern California (USC)

Second Year Trainees

  • Krystal Anne Fermin (English and Tagalog)
    California State University of the East Bay (CSUEB)
  • Ruiqi He (English and Mandarin)
    University of Southern California (USC)
  • Sonnara Sen (English and Khmer)
    California State University of the East Bay (CSUEB)

Board of Directors

The volunteer board of directors at KCCEB is responsible for long-term strategic and programmatic planning, financial oversight and investments, fundraising, and general governance.

Dong Suh, MPP

Dong Suh is the Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services. At AHS, he coordinates policy, planning, development, advocacy programs, and issues that affect its patients.

Jennifer Choo, PhD

Jennifer Choo is the Associate Director, China Program, at Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. Prior to this position, she served as the Director of Programs at Asia Society Northern California in San Francisco.

YoonSun Choi, MA

YoonSun brings a deep understanding of Korean immigrants' lives earned from serving as a Social Work Specialist and Case Manager at Kimochi to KCCEB leadership. Her passion is in healing disenfranchised populations through music.