Jane was the program coordinator for KYCC Clinical Service’s KISM—the Korean Integrated Service Management—program, a collaborative effort among six Korean service providers to identify and treat individuals with mental health needs and secondary physical health and/or substance abuse concerns. KYCC is responsible for younger patients, from ages 0 to 25; most were uninsured and were treated for a combination of mental health and physical health issues, such as a mood disorder coupled with a dependency on alcohol.

Where is your hometown?

San Jose, California, but I’ve moved around a lot. I was born in Korea but I moved to Cerritos, where I went to elementary school and then I went back to Korea. From there, I moved to San Jose, where I would call home because my parents still live there. I moved to San Diego for college, went back to San Jose and then came to L.A. for grad school and stayed.

Do you live or work in Koreatown?

I used to live in Koreatown for a good three years until this past April, when I got married and I moved to Torrance. I’ve worked in Koreatown for three years as a KISM Program Coordinator; I oversee a program that collaborates with six other agencies to provide quality mental health services to the Korean community.

What are your thoughts on Koreatown today? 

For a lot of people, myself included, Koreatown is a place where we can go back to our roots. There are familiarity and an attachment to the people here. Immigrants are able to share struggles, pains and joys of being here together. Because of this, you want to give back.

Personally, I’ve been given a lot from the community. I’ve received resources to be successful, to have a job and make a life here, from my parents’ generation. My parents left their families, friends and everything they knew to come here to create something new. So from that, I think that’s where the attachment is and why I want to give back to Koreatown.

Where is your favorite place in Koreatown? 

Kim’s Home Center. It’s so awesome because when I was growing in Cerritos, we always went to KHC when we made a trip to L.A. Back in the 90s, it was tiny and the parking was worse. I always had to try not to lose my mom because it was so crowded. Now, it’s where I go to buy things that I need. It sells everything from lunch containers to blenders to rice cookers…even the most random stuff. Now it’s gotten so big, it’s weird.