Korean American Family Services (KFAM) is launching a new project to help the undocumented and low-income families across Southern California under the title Resilience to Overcome Challenges for Korean Family (ROCK). The program has been designed to provide free counseling for families in need.
“We recognized that counseling is something that the Korean community here needs in a big way,” said KFAM executive director Connie Chung. “Since 2015, we’ve been providing free counseling thanks to financial contribution from our Korean sponsor. We hope to raise more money to provide the service to more people in our community, which is why we’re launching this project.”
The charity raised for ROCK started in 2015 as an anonymous contributor made a donation to launch the free counseling service. Since then, the counseling that was only available to 18 people in 2014 soared to 77 in 2015. One person on average receives eight counseling sessions, meaning the number of sessions have also increased from 144 in 2014 to 616 in 2015.
Generally, those who wish to receive counseling must pay at least between $25 and $45 even with outside funding.
“There are still plenty of Koreans who are averse to paying just $25 for counseling,” said KFAM director Sylvia Kwon. “Not receiving counseling in a timely manner can sometimes lead to extreme circumstances, including suicides.”
Kwon added that she will be participating in the upcoming L.A. Marathon as a part of the fundraiser for ROCK. A 20-year veteran runner, Kwon completed six marathons in 2015. She plans to represent the name of the organization or person making the donation as she takes part in the event on March 19.
“The anxiety among undocumented families has been rising rapidly since the Trump administration took charge,” Chung said. “We expect the need for counseling for them will only rise in the future.”
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By Soo Yeon Oh