June 15, 2017 

LAWT News Service 


On June 7 the Kaiser Per­manente Watts Counseling and Learning Center celebrated 50 years of service to the Watts community with a Grand Open House. The Center opened two years after the 1965 Watts civil unrest to provide essential mental health and educational resources to children and their families. Half a century later, what began in a small room in a prefabricated building with three employees has grown to a 9,000 square-foot facility with a team of 30 therapists, teachers, counselors and other staff members.


Since its founding, the Watts Counseling and Learning Center has continually expanded and diversified its programs to cover a wide range of culturally relevant mental health, educational and youth outreach services. The Center is funded by Kaiser Permanente Southern California as a Community Benefit program. Families do not need to be Kaiser Permanente members to utilize the Center’s services.


“We are proud to be contributing to the personal growth and development of children, adults and families in Watts through our accessible community service programs,” said Maria Aguirre, director, Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center. “Ultimately our job is to listen to people, understand their needs and support them on their journey toward success.”


“We are honored to be a part of the Watts community and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Coun­seling and Learning Center,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern Cali­fornia. “We look forward to a bright future supporting the people who live, work, learn and play in Watts and its surrounding communities.”


Katrice Jackson, a licensed clinical social worker at the Watts Counseling and Learning Center, says she is living proof that the Center is accomplishing its goals and changing lives. She grew up in Watts and now works at the Counseling and Learning Center with children and their families providing mental health therapy.


“I always wanted to come back and give back to the community that gave so much to me and my family,” said Jackson. “I was raised in this community, which in hindsight gave me insight into the social, economic and historical challenges it experienced, and how they contributed to the mental health needs of the community.”


Some of the services provided by the Center to nearly 5,000 people each year include:


• Homework assistance and SAT/ACT preparation classes to help students of all ages achieve academic success


• Individual and small group educational therapy for children with learning difficulties


• Individual, family, marital, parent/child and group therapy programs in English and Spanish, with specialized support for children experiencing life-threatening illnesses


• A full-day, early childhood education program that develops school-readiness skills and motivates preschool children to enjoy learning


• A farmer’s market, in partnership with other community agencies, to provide local families with access to fresh fruits and vegetables


In honor of the Center’s founder, Bill Coggins, the Watts Counseling and Learning Center also awards scholarships to college-bound high school seniors for exceptional service to their local communities.


For more information about Kaiser Permanente Southern Cali­fornia, follow us on twitter @KPSCALNews or go to: share.kp.org/scal.

Category: Community