Center for Pan-Asian Community Services

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A few days ago, I visited the CPACS building  in Chamblee, just off Buford Highway.

To say that I was surprised;  would be an understatement.  I found half of the waiting room filled by Latinos.

While CPACS was created to primarily serve the Pan-Asian population;  it also serves daily a good number of Latinos, African refugees and in general the underprivileged population in the area with a wide variety of services and programs.

This is a relatively small non-profit (their budget is under 4M) yet they manage to have  a staff of approximately 80 full-time employees and 20 part-time and contractors speaking 16 languages in-house.

Some of the highlights of my visit, include learning that they have 46 (that is correct, 46) ACA certified application counselors speaking various languages, a youth program in-house that serves over 500 youth (mostly Latino) with job readiness programs, homework help, etc every day.  The youth also have a library on-site, computers, a community garden and a large green space to play.

Food pantry? Of course, but guess what… Theirs include fresh vegetables and fruits and it gets even better.  They have purchased a refrigerated truck to bring fresh produce to areas with a high percentage of immigrant/refugee population unable to get to their office in Chamblee.

CPACS also operates a fixed route from Clarkston to increase mobility and job opportunities to the refugee community.  They educate the community to use the existing transportation system in the metro area working with MARTA and providing workshops.

Because of their growth (they see aprox. 2,600 unique individuals monthly), they are expanding their reach and are increasing their presence in Gwinnett County where we can anticipate they will tap largely into the Hispanic community living there.   CPACS is in the middle of a Capital Campaign of $4.2M that intends to expand their building to create dedicated community space for meetings, assemblies, etc and a leadership institute.  If you are interested in supporting their great work, you can contact Victoria Hyunh.

Liaising with the Hispanic community, is Ricardo Broce.  One of the nominees for Latino Health Excellence Award by the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia.ricardo and  Executive Director Kiran Ahuja

The 10 departments under their roof are:

COMMUNITY HEALTH (including a Federally certified health center providing primary and preventative care and an upcoming dental office)

COUNSELING(Domestic Violence, Cancer support groups, etc)

SOCIAL SERVICES (referrals, instruction and assistance to immigrant and refugee families in accessing federal/state/local-funded programs as well as relationship-building with immigrant and refugee networks and community members through outreach activities)

SENIOR SERVICES (seminars, classes, physical activities)

HOUSING COUNSELING (education, information and referrals as well as foreclosure prevention, mortgage and loan fraud prevention, homeless prevention, etc)

LEGAL & IMMIGRATION (with paralegals in staff and referring to partner organizations)

COMMUNITY EDUCATION (ESL, MARTA, Defense Driving, Healthy Families, etc)

CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES (Homework assistance, leadership, Job readiness skills)

RESEARCH (a unique feature, led by Dr. Ito, this department works on understanding the community, developing tools for program effectiveness and disseminate best practices)

ADVOCACY (community health navigators, women empowerment, civic engagement, etc.  You may recall their campaign “Reunite Families”)

CPACS is a clear alternative for our community in need of social services and is a big player that sits at the table with the big boys.  Last week they had 48 Community Leaders, 16 Federal Agencies and representatives from the White House at their building right off Buford Highway to work on a Regional Inter-agency plan to make sure underserved communities access Federally funded programs in education, commerce, business, health, human services, housing, environment, arts, agriculture, labor and employment, transportation, justice, veterans affairs and economic and community development.  The event closed with a final push for ACA enrollment.

Want to give it a try?  Volunteer or join their amazing TEA WALK!

For more information on their work with Latinos, contact Ricardo Broce.

Published by

Gilda (Gigi) Pedraza

Executive Director and Founder Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia) Social Entrepreneur, Community Advocate, Latina, Mom, Wife. Lover of Life.