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Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling & Learning Center Celebrates 50 Years ‘Helping People Grow’

Celebrating 50 years in the Community, the KP Watts Counseling & Learning Center will host an Open House on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, starting at 10:00am.

LOS ANGELES - May 19, 2017 - PRLog – In 1965, optimism was a scarce commodity in the South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts.

Anger and frustration in the black community fueled a violent eruption that resembled the burning, looting and gunfire of riots in America’s biggest cities in July and August of 1964. In a six-day period in August 1965, 34 people were killed and more than 1,000 were wounded in the Watts uprising.

The Los Angeles inner city districts that once flourished were in decay. Industry – and its jobs – was leaving, and people who could escape moved to the burgeoning suburbs.

Before the smoke from the riots cleared, Raymond Kay, MD, Southern California Permanente Medical Group executive medical director, was pondering how Kaiser Permanente could ease the suffering and help Watts residents find their way out of poverty and violence. The children and families had to be the focus. The delicate psyches of these vulnerable children, born into a desperate environment, had to be nurtured and healed.

The impulse of Dr. Kay and his colleagues was to hire a social worker whose job was to sleuth out what Watts’ people needed the most. SCPMG hired Bill Coggins, a black licensed clinical social worker, in November 1966.

Setting up a home base in a small prefabricated building in August 1967, Coggins drove around the community talking to people. He went door to door seeking out people and their stories.

The Watts Counseling and Learning Center’s location at the corner of Success Avenue and 103rd Street seemed a good omen. From the ashes of the 1965 uprising, the KP Watts Counseling and Learning Center was birthed.

“Counseling, educational and preschool services are provided to families with children who have either learning or behavioral problems, or high development potential”, wrote Dr. Kay in 1979.

From the beginning, the center’s services, including low cost or free mental health counseling, have been open to all Watts area residents and membership in the Health Plan is not a factor.

Fifty-years later KP Watts Counseling and Learning Center is still in the business of ‘helping people grow’.

The Southern California Community is invited to come out to celebrate this momentous occasion and get a glimpse of the successes the Center has achieved in the Community of Watts during the past 50 years. There will be featured entertainment, music, refreshments and more! KP Watts Learning Center 50th Celebration Open House Wednesday, June 7 at 10 AM - 1 PM 1465 E. 103rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002 REGISTER HERE; About Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center The Watts Counseling and Learning Center is a unique community service of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Since 1967, the Center has provided counseling, outreach, and educational services to the residents of Watts and the surrounding communities. Learn more at

Fact Sheet - file:///C:/Users/spmgm/Pictures/2017/JUNE/JUNE%201/CB_Factsheet_2016Watts_121616.pdf About SPMG Media SPMG Media is the fastest growing boutique content creating and marketing firm in the US. With experience in a variety of industries, we utilize a unique blend of traditional PR and New Media marketing to increase our clients brand and business awareness. Our clients include entertainers, athletes, politicians, nonprofit organizations, profit organizations, community organizations and entrepreneurs. Learn more at

SOURCE: KP.ORG - Ginny McPartland, Heritage writer

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