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Lao Leadership Institute Kicks Off with First Cohort

The first cohort started in our latest program, the Lao Leadership Institute, which aims to develop and connect emerging leaders to be on boards and advisories that make decisions on behalf of the local Lao Minnesotan community. Learn more about the program here


Lao Minnesotans Taking a Stand this Election 2012 - November 3, 2012

The Lao Assistance Center was formed by ethnic Lao refugees in 1981 and attained its nonprofit charitable status in 1983. It was founded to respond to the emerging needs of newly arrived Lao refugees who were not Hmong and provided services in Youth Advancement, Elder Empowerment, Adult Stability, Employment, Health Outreach Prevention and Intervention, Culture Engagement, Housing, citizenship, and Civic Engagement.

The mission of the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) is to increase the capacity of the Lao-American population in Minnesota by responding to community identified needs through developing programs and services that will promote the well-being of families and children while retaining their cultural heritage.

Since 2009, the Lao Assistance Center has been able to help our community in the following ways:

Elder Access: 360 elders were served as part of our ongoing program to provide key support services to Lao elderly refugees who are 60+ up, many who have not yet become US citizen. Our services ranged from helping the elders to organize and pay bills, connect to benefits, make doctors appointments and housing assistance. We worked to educate elders on good nutrition, effective transport options and issues of physical and mental health.

Chemical Health: Through the Lao Assistance Center's partnership with Northwest Hennepin County Human Services Council and the Southeast Asian Community Council, we made progress with the Southeast Asian Living Chemically Free program, an effort to educate community how to be aware of the harm of using drugs, alcohol and smoking. We've provided group and one-on-one support, workshops, youth activities, parenting support, educational material to train adults and youth how to prevent this and how to help people seek effective treatment.

DTV Conversion Outreach: Over 4,500 Lao and their families were reached during theDigital DTV conversion. We conducted a media campaign and outreach at community festivals as well as on-site assistance to help clients fill out the forms to request a rebate for a free DTV conversion box, and work to install DTV converter boxes and using them effectively. It was a major collaborative effort with national and state grassroots community organizations to ensure that at-risk households could remain connected during this transition.

Community Health Outreach: 750 clients including Lao and Hmong were lived below the federal poverty level were assisted with efforts to obtain health insurance, application screening, application eligibility to ensure insurance coverage for their families. We also continued our Mental Health Project to educate the community on issues of Mental Health in our community and how to deal with this issue .

General Support: This year, the Lao Assistance Center received 18,000 calls requesting general support services. These ranged from the simple to the complex, but the Lao Assistance Center staff worked to ensure that all clients were treated with respect and dignity and connected with the assistance they needed.

Housing Unemployment and Financial Counseling: This year we continued to work to provide house foreclose advice to Lao community and other support related to housing, refinancing loans and purchasing houses. We provided financial literacy education to Lao community members so they will know how to save money, how to budget their expense, how read their bank statements, and build credit among other key skills to build economic self-sufficiency and community capacity. 

National Gender Equity Campaign: This year we trained in organizational development, community development from social services to social change and social justice with 48 other individuals representing 12 national organizations.

Problem Gambling Awareness: In 2009, we served 775 clients and community members on compulsive gambling problems. Our goal was to educate and reach the community on gambling prevention and intervention, find the resources for appropriate referral treatment.

Tobacco Prevention: This year we reached 1,375 community members through our Youth Media Tobacco Training program. We worked with 60 youth leaders to educate their friends and peers about the harm of smoking, to understand and know how tobacco companies target our youth and adults in the Lao community. We also helped 375 Lao adults to quit smoking, although as always, this is an ongoing process.

Voter Education/Civic Engagement: This year, we reached 6,650 Lao on voter education and registration, in an effort to encourage Lao American civic engagement, because their participation in the democratic process is essential to our long-term growth and success as a community.



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