For three decades, The Fresno Center was known as the place that helped Southeast Asian refugees.
The Fresno Center History (TFC)
In 1991, Dr. Tony Vang founded the organization in response to the growing number of Southeast Asian refugees, primarily Hmong refugees, along with Cambodian, Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese who relocated to Fresno County. The refugees needed wide-ranging support to make the difficult transition from living in their home country to living in a new country where everything was foreign. At that time, TFC worked closely with the US Office of Refugee Resettlement to help refugees successfully transition to living in America. Services included support with housing, healthcare, English language training, job retraining, health education, and employment. These services continued under Lue Vang, who became the second Executive Director, in 1992, and remained with the organization for over 25 years. In 2017, Pao Yang became the organization’s third Executive Director & first President & CEO.
In its 30- year history, The Fresno Center has grown from three employees to over 130 employees serving diverse communities through more than 20 established local, state, and federal programs. These programs purposely encompass a wider scope and breadth in response to growing needs in all traditionally underserved communities. TFC now has a multi-cultural focus and works to provide an array of culture-based services that support self-sufficiency, economic viability, and empowerment across all communities. Services have expanded to include various social support programs, mental health, navigator services, food security, emergency response, and COVID-19 education and supports for all communities in need. These services are provided by staff that are reflective of the diverse communities. We provide appropriate education, training, and linkage services to un-served and underserved individuals and groups who may typically not seek traditional Western (clinically based) mental health services. We are staffed with diverse Cultural Brokers and staff who speak Spanish, Hmong, Lao, Khmer, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic and English. The Fresno Center offers expert translation and cross-cultural services to our clients and community. The Fresno Center is proud to help other organizations and individuals reach their cross-cultural goals and engage with their target audiences. We are equally proud to be partners with the City of Fresno and County of Fresno in being a one-stop Center for mental health, community resources and crisis services.