June 5, 2017

Celebrating 50 years in Watts neighborhood

Watts Counseling and Learning Center will open its doors to all to commemorate a half century of “helping people grow.”

KP's Watts Wellness and Learning Center 50th anniversary logoLOS ANGELES — The  Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center will celebrate 50 years of service to the community with an open house on Wednesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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 50 th 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 localhare.kp.org/scal.

    About Kaiser Permanente

    Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.