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Our Mission

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

Since 1977, KCCEB has worked to ensure access to basic needs and services to newcomer immigrants from Korea. Today our work has expanded to provide wraparound services in immigration legal, social services, health access and wellness to Korean and other immigrants/refugees.

1977 The Beginning - Essential Settlement Support

MLK March with KCCEB Banner

1977 The Beginning - Essential Settlement Support

Inspired by the civil rights movement, five community activists founded the Korean Community Center of the East Bay. Initially supported by the Methodist church, KCCEB becomes an independent non-profit agency in 1980. Essential service areas include: providing social services to Korean newcomers, teaching job skills to immigrants, offering senior citizens services & ESL classes.
Women cooking together

1983 Our First Home at 3538 Telegraph

1983 Our First Home at 3538 Telegraph

One hundred people pledge to make consistent donations, forming our very first Support Society - their contributions sponsor KCCEB’s first office location at 3538 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

1991-1996 Legal Support in Immigration & Advocacy

Immigration lawers

1984 — 1989 Business Incubator Project: Koryo Village Center

KCCEB supports small businesses through 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.

1984 — 1989 Business Incubator Project: Koryo Village Center

After the success of the Koryo Village Center, KCCEB turns to civic engagement and advocacy. In 1991, KCCEB hosts its first monthly immigration clinic. Faced with significant anti-immigrant sentiment in California from 1991 to 1996, 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.

1994 — 2002 Youth Community Leadership

2000 Shimtuh Domestic Violence Program

In the aftermath of Sa-I-Gu (the 1992 LA Riots that resulted in devastation for many Korean small businesses), KCCEB focuses on providing services to the immigrant merchant population. Through the Small Business Technical Assistance & Awareness Project, KCCEB provides technical assistance to start-ups and expands Korean immigrant businesses. We help to establish the K-town Family Fund to support safety and violence prevention. Several new programs begin during this time, including the African American/Korean American Business Network, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Asian Sisters in Action, the Regional Alliance for Community Empowerment

1992 — 1995 Small Business & Community Violence prevention

The Youth Community Program is established as a response to the need for leadership development among 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean American youth. KCCEB’s youth programming incorporates afterschool programs to include instruction in Korean cultural arts for youth ages 10-15. During this period, KCCEB also sponsors Han-Ma-Eum, a youth leadership summer camp in collaboration with UC Berkeley students.

2010 Environmental Scan

2010 Gala Presentation

1994 — 2002 Youth Community Leadership

The Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse (KACEDA) is formed in 1998 and leads a Community Needs Assessment on Domestic Violence Issues, revealing a prevalence of high domestic violence in the Bay Area Korean population. In 2000, Shimtuh, the first & only Korean language domestic violence victim’s assistance program in the Bay Area, is established as a joint effort between the Asian Women’s Shelter and KCCEB.

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2000 Shimtuh Domestic Violence Program

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KCCEB conducts 28 in-depth interviews to better understand KCCEB’s role in the community with support from the Taproot Foundation. The outcomes of this study provide groundwork for KCCEB’s strategic framework and highlights potential approaches in accomplishing specific goals, captured in the 2013 Strategic Planning.

2000 Virtual Village

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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
Since 2018, Una has worked as a Wellness Counselor at KCCEB. She 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. For Una, “NO Boba, NO life!”

Art Choi

Rapid Response Coordinator
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.

Hye-Yun Graves

Information and Referral Specialist
Bilingual in Korean and English
Hye-Yun joined KCCEB in 2020 as an Information and Referral Specialist where she provides resources to those who are in need. She is also 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.

Joe Han

Case Manager and Enrollment Counselor
Bilingual in Korean and English
Joe joined KCCEB in 2020 as an Case Manager and Enrollment Counselor for Medi-Cal and CalFresh.

Joe majored in Psychology and was a research assistant in a cognitive psychology lab.

Joe likes doing something that is a challenge.

Donna Jung

Health Promotion Instructor
Speaks Cantonese, Toisanese, and English
Donna provides Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance, an evidence-based program designed to improve balance, strength, and physical performance for older adults. Donna was born and raised in SF Chinatown by immigrant
parents from ToiSan, China. She holds a M.S. in Educational Psychology and Counseling. She has been working as a medical social worker for the last 30+ years in Oakland, providing social work and integrated behavioral health counseling to the immigrant population.

Donna enjoys learning and practicing Taichi, especially the sword sets. This is the time when she is able to feel rejuvenated and manage stress and pain better. She also enjoys reading about Asian American history and novels about the Asian American experience.

Hana Jung

Senior Program Coordinator
Bilingual in Korean and English
Hana is the Senior Program Coordinator for the Immigration Program where she assists clients with Immigration cases for consultation and application process. She is also the Program Coordinator for Community Stories: The Impact of Tobacco where
she collects stories with a focus on the cultural, immigration, and health challenges that Bay Area Korean families face.

Hana first joined KCCEB as a volunteer in 2016. Hana’s personal goal as a member of KCCEB is to not only provide services to clients but also try to listen carefully to what community members share. “By hearing their voice, we offer the space for everyone to feel special and know that someone truly cares about their well-being.”

Kate Kang

Navigation Specialist and Data Coordinator
Bilingual in Korean and English
Kate joined KCCEB in 2019 as a Navigation Specialist to provide support to limited English proficient Koreans who are in need of access to government services (social services, immigration legal help, housing, health access). Kate is
also part of the Asian Community Wellness team serving as the data coordinator to maintain internal and county database systems.

Kate is inspired by the connections she creates in her interactions with people whether through the phone or in person. She is passionate about building a healthy community and enjoys providing knowledge to empower people from different cultural backgrounds to thrive. In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world, cooking, watching sports games, and exploring the Bay Area with her family and friends.

Jisoo Kim

Navigation Specialist and Data Coordinator
Bilingual in Korean and English
Jisoo recently joined the KCCEB as a Navigation and Data Coordinator to provide support for the Bay Area Asian community. In addition to serving her community, 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
Speaks Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and English
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). Growing up in an immigrant family in NY, Amy has always had a passion for giving voice to the immigrant experience. 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 also a 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.”

Esther Lee

Clinical Case Manager and Wellness Counselor
Bilingual in Korean and English
As a clinical case manager and wellness counselor, Esther provides preventive counseling and case management support. 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. Integrating her experience and education, she strives to provide culturally-sensitive support to promote clients’ mental health.

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.

Yu Seoun Lhim, JD, MSW

Staff Attorney
Bilingual in Korean and English
Yu Seoun joins KCCEB in the fall of 2020 as a staff attorney for Immigration Legal Service. While in law school, she expanded her commitment to the 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.

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. 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.

Pysay Phinith, LCSW

Program Director/Clinical Supervisor
Bilingual in Khmer and English
Since 2018, Pysay has led the development of KCCEB’s first community mental health program, Asian Community Wellness Program, Senior Case Management Program, and provides support for the Community Health Access Program. Pysay also supervises mental health
trainees and provides mental health counseling to children, youths and adults.

Pysay is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and holds an MSW from UC Berkeley. She has over 12 years of depth and experience in community-based prevention, early intervention, clinical case management, and mental health treatment services for Asian and Pacific Islanders and the greater communities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Pysay loves running for self-care. She completed the lifelong dream of her first full marathon (26.2 miles) in 2016. “Running is my high! Running is my freedom!”

Yeri Shon, MPH, MSW

Chief of Program Integration and Community Impact
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 with the Korean community. 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, Ann Arbor, and has a BS in Chemistry from the University of California, 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.

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. Seokjune 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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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 (AHS). At AHS, he coordinates policy, planning, development and advocacy programs and issues that affect its patients; serves as the compliance officer, and oversees the Administrative Services Department.

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. Choo graduated with a doctorate from U.C. Berkeley’s Sociology Department where her dissertation focused on the emergence of the real estate sector in post-1978 reform China.

YoonSun Choi, MA

YoonSun brings a deep understanding of Korean immigrants' lives to KCCEB leadership. From serving as a Social Work Specialist at the San Francisco County and Case Manager at Kimochi, she has a diverse range of experience from senior case management to contracts management. Her passion is in healing disenfranchised populations through music rooted in her earlier passion for music as a cellist, leading to her graduate study in music therapy.