OROVILLE — More than two years into a global pandemic, the Hmong Cultural Center continues to work with the Hmong community in Northern California to restore connections and meet the needs of people who live with barriers such as lack translators, transportation and more.
The non-profit organization works with Butte County to improve lives through education, support and cultural services. For resources such as the Zoosiab program, which combines traditional Hmong and Western practices to serve Hmong elders in Butte County, the county continues to renew resources with the center through funding from the Mental Health Services Act.
Funding for the deal comes from California’s Proposition 63 of 2004, which produced the Mental Health Services Act, a 1% tax on any California resident earning more than $1 million who would go to services mental health, the Butte County Mental Health Services Act said. Coordinator Holli Drobny.
“The flow of funding is community and stakeholder driven,” Drobny said. “Our community says it’s the underserved communities that need funding.”
Agreements like the Hmong Agreement are contracts that are reinstated each year as long as the stakeholders and community members continue to renew themselves.
All plans and proposals are posted for a 30-day public comment period before being presented at a public hearing.
The Zoosiab program, which translates to “Happy Program”, provides a hub for Hmong seniors to provide recreation and remove barriers.
“The elderly are practically staying at home and have no place to go or share,” director Seng Yang said. “Isolation causes stress, so in order to be able to support them, we need a culturally appropriate place to support their well-being.”
The group serves more than 80 people a year for the Zoosiab program alone and more than 5,000 people in multiple counties, Yang said.
“We have provided traditional practices such as seeking a shaman for a person’s healing practices if this needs to be done, but we are also helping to reduce barriers to Western treatment such as visiting a doctor or taking medication and we help them with translation and transportation,” said Program Coordinator Charlie Xiong. “We have a few seniors who live alone.”
Outside the center, a garden with corn, lettuce, cucumbers and more is available for people to deal with their mental health, Xiong said.
“Often they say the garden reminds them of their homeland,” Xiong said.
Outside of the elders program, the center provides resources for youth, family planning, and cultural education.
“During the pandemic, we pushed everything on Facebook,” said family specialist Pahoua Yang. “For the past two months alone, we have returned to in-person events and we are trying to continue to engage. It’s really great to help families. There are days when we are really busy and others when we get really slow. We’re just spending the day.
The Butte County Board of Supervisors will meet today. As part of the consent program, the council will decide whether to approve a renewal agreement for outreach services to the Hmong elder community for another term from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.