Lao Khmu Association, Inc.
has been serving the community as a not-for-profit organization since 1983. It grew from a volunteer-based association of Lao and Khmu residents that banded together to address the needs of their small community in Stockton, to a center for all Southeast Asians in the community. In an effort to effectively address common problems among Southeast Asian refugee families, LKA opened the Refugee Resource Center (RRC), a facility that served as a hub for assistance to local refugees. The Center provided translation, mediation, and advocacy between the community and service providers that included social/human services organizations, health agencies, law enforcement, legal services, the justice system, and others. Over the years, LKA became an established provider of social services, focused on improving the lives of Southeast Asians in Stockton and San Joaquin County through empowerment, capacity building, social work, and community health programs.
Currently, LKA has a staff with a diverse background such as Lao, Khmu, Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hispanic, Chinese, and Filipino. Its Board of Directors is comprised of Southeast Asians from faith-based organizations, grass-root or neighborhood associations, community agencies, local service providers, and businesses. The agency's fiscal responsibility is demonstrated by its growing base of county and federal contracts and foundation grants, with an annual budget of over $3 million. LKA is recognized for its innovative programs that address the needs of the county's Southeast Asian residents. Its programs and services are designed to be complementary, with continual refinement by research and evaluation. LKA is experienced in managing subcontracts, small grants, as well as developing and administering collaborative programs.
Housed in the Stockton office of Lao Khmu Association, Inc. is the Center for Employment Opportunity. Established in 1997, CEO annually serves approximately 2,700 CalWORKs clients in Stockton and San Joaquin County, providing personal development support, vocational training, job search assistance, and aid in accessing community-based services. The goal is to improve the ability of low-income residents to obtain and maintain gainful employment. Approximately 65% of the CalWORKs participants are non-Asian.
Observing a need for mental health support, LKA also established the Behavioral Wellness Program (BWP), with funding from San Joaquin County Mental Health Services. The BWP provides ongoing case management and counseling for CalWORKs participants.