Ian Macato, '19
Becoming part of the neighborhood
The Filipino Community Center in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco serves to provide a safe space where Filipino families can access services, meet, and hold activities.
The Excelsior neighborhood has the second highest population of Filipino/a people in San Francisco, and they are mostly low-income, working class immigrants. As true community members, we organize with partner grassroots organizations striving to fix the root causes of unemployment, unaffordable housing, and poverty in the neighborhood and in the Philippines.
The center's purpose is ordinary, helping community members to access government services and benefits. But serving as an intern at the FCC means to become a part of the Excelsior neighborhood and immerse oneself in the stories, experiences, and lives of the community members we serve.
Through learning how to serve our kababayans (the Tagalog word for fellow compatriots), by helping them to get their much deserved government benefits, we also become their friends, counselors, and community members. We take part in their story and empathize with their struggle, knowing ours is interconnected.