An Open Letter to the Community from Kalusugan + Kalakasan

Posted on June 30, 2020



By Dr. Ofelia  Dirige, President

GREETINGS TO EVERYONE: from the Executive Board, Board of Directors and Board of Advisors of KKCHW.

TO:   The San Diego Community especially our members, donors, supporters, friends, relatives, students and clients.  We are safe and well because of the loving care of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. We hope and pray that everyone is also healthy and safe in His loving care. We are giving a current update of the status and workings of Kalusugan since 2015 and also its history  for background information. It has been a long time since we have given a report of Kalusugan. Thus, we hope that by reading this you will remember us and continue to support Kalusugan not only with your service, ideas, volunteerism, but also your donations or financial support.

HISTORY- To start, let’s review the history of Kalusugan since its beginning in 1992 up to the present. We are celebrating our 28th anniversary this year. Kalusugan Community Services (KCS) was founded in April 1992 as Project Kalusugan, a coalition by individuals representing three organizations namely: San Diego State University represented by Dr. Riz A. Oades, Associate Professor, Department of History and Dr. Ofelia Dirige, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health Program; Mr. Joel San Juan, Executive Director, Operation Samahan; and Mr. Paul Ones, President , Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO). It became a non-profit community-based organization in 1995 and changed its name to Kalusugan Community Services. From then on it expanded due to grants for health programs targeted to youth on gang violence, nutrition and physical activity.

    KCS  had a big break in 2000, when it was funded by two large private organizations, i.e, California Endowment and California Wellness Foundation to build a Filipino  American Wellness Center (FWC) in National City. The Center developed a comprehensive health prevention and disease prevention program. This included: Community Education & Service, Advocacy, Training and Research (CART). In 2008, we were hit by a recession and in 2009, the passing away of Dr. Riz A. Oades, one of our founders. We had to sell the Center due to lack of funding to support staff, moved to the Asian Journal office in 2015, and home office in 2018. In 2015, we expanded the mission to include “wellness” in its programs (Total Wellness) and in its cultural event, Vim & Vigor. The organization’s name also was renamed to be KKCHW.


    Since the establishment of the Center in 2000, we have been doing Strategic Planning every five years. This was a requirement of the California Endowment before we got funded to build the Center. From our experience, it is a necessity to do strategic planning every 5 years as it helps us evaluate what we have done and help improve our vision, mission, programs and activities so we can go forward and be successful in our mission. Our latest Strategic Planning was in 2017-2022 after we moved out of the FilAm Wellness Center. We are sharing this with you below so that we can get your input not only in ideas but also in implementing it with your service and provisions.

Our Strategic Plan will establish KKCHW’s vision and mission for the next five years (2017-2011) showing its unique mission in reaching out to Filipino Americans and others to help them find the path to good health and total wellness.


To be a pioneer and leader in Filipino American (FilAm) health promotion and service.


To help FilAms and others in need, find the path to good health and total wellness so they will be healthy, live longer, lead protective lives, and be an inspiration and leader for the next generation.

Goal 1- Objective 1- Enhance financial sustainability through a diverse plan of fund raising. Through grants, donations, special events, planned giving, fee for service, board member giving, membership, fund raising, and others as specified in our Resource Development Plan. Evaluation & Suggestions: This is one of our weakest spots. It is a challenge especially at this time of the corona virus to increase revenue as everyone is asking for donations. We will continue on our present sources of funding from grants, donors, sponsorships of events, sale of books; and start new programs such as DPP, request donations during our workshops, business ventures such as Melaleuca and start a Thrift Shop at the home office.

Goal 2- Objective 2- Increase organizational capacity and leadership. This includes staff, board, interns, volunteers, succession planning, internal training, and external collaborators. Evaluation & Suggestions: Recruit more young board members/advisors and volunteers; also former board members or volunteers.

Goal 3- Objective 3 – Increase KKCHW visibility and notoriety. Review and update marketing plan, better define KK audience, enhance social media, enhance traditional media, increase partnerships, event marketing, and exploring speaker’s bureau. Evaluation and Suggestions: Expand contact list to include new young people’s group in business (FilAm Chamber of Commerce), arts, communication, and restaurant industry.

Goal 4- Objective 4- Start new programs and continue to improve existing ones. Total Wellness, Filipino Sun Festival (Vim & Vigor), Identify potential collaborators (research,  training, advocacy/policy, training ( leadership development), training of trainers model, FilAm coalition building for health). Evaluation and Suggestions: Most of the current programs are ON HOLD, and also new programs will not be started till 2021.

We hope that this gives you a picture of what is going on with KKCHW and we are hoping that you are still part of us & interested in our activities. We invite you to respond in any way to this letter. You may write a comment on any of the topics, give some suggestions on our goals and objectives. You may also help by volunteering to be a member and assisting in one of our events or in one of the Boards , give a financial donation or purchase one of our books  (Beyond the Mask- Story of US Navy Filipinos by Dr. Oades or Global Filipino Cuisine: Healthy Recipes by Dr. Dirige, Oades, Cudal and Claudio.