In 1975, Father Matthew Y. Ahn arrived in Los Angeles to begin working with the members of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church. Ministering over his congregation, Father Ahn came to see the immense needs of the rapidly growing Korean immigrant population. In response, Father Ahn’s first effort was to publish a Korean language pamphlet to help guide immigrants through the transition to the U.S. Entitled “New Life,” the pamphlet included information on almost every aspect of life in the U.S., from an overview of cultural practices to employment and even health and education.

In 1977, Father Ahn established California Korean Community Services (KCS) as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the goal of providing social services and community outreach to the ever-expanding population of Korean immigrants.

In the ‘80s, KCS became the first agency to provide culturally and linguistically competent substance abuse services to Southern California Korean Americans. What began as a service for limited English speaking Korean Americans soon expanded into services in Spanish, Japanese, and Tagalog as well. In 1991, Korean Community Services expanded into Orange County and formally established its behavioral health wing as K.C. Services to reflect the diversity. In 1997, K.C. Services extended its repertoire to include an array of family violence programs and counseling.

Soon thereafter, KCS established a training division called Pan-Pacific training to provide culturally competent training to professionals working for or affiliated with KCS.

By the new millennium, KCS came upon the opportunity to return its focus toward an emerging need in the Korean community. In the three decades since KCS’ establishment, the continual growth of the Korean population in Los Angeles was successfully met with an increase in culturally competent social services. However, in the shadow of Los Angeles County, the Korean population in Orange County, which had become the second largest Korean population of any county in the nation, was left almost completely devoid of Korean language social and community services. Therefore, in 2003, KCS commissioned its Korean Community Services wing with the opening of the Korean Bokji Center in Orange County. Through the Bokji Center, Korean Community Services provides Korean Americans with a array of services, including Korean-language mental health, family, and couples counseling, English and computer classes, and general guidance on regional and federal social assistance programs.

Today, KCS continues to be committed to its vision of providing a new life for populations in need.

 







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