Family Bridges, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1968 by a group of volunteers. It was originally called the Oakland Chinese Community Council, Inc. They served Chinese immigrants who arrived in the late 1960s. Oakland became home to many of these immigrants who lacked the basic skills to find housing, employment, and health care. This organization provided them within formation in Chinese and also helped with referral services. In 2000, Oakland Chinese Community Council, Inc. changed their name to Family Bridges, Inc.
The services have since diversified beyond the Chinese community. They currently serve about 10,000 clients who are low-to-moderate income in the East Bay. Their mission is to empower the most vulnerable people (the young, seniors, immigrants, people who have health problems, and people with limited English proficiency) to lead self-sufficient, independent lives.
They service people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. The Family Bridges staff and volunteers speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. This non-profit organization gets funding from private foundations, government agencies, and private individuals. Donations are always welcome.
Family Bridges has the following programs:
Both centers serve frail adults 18 years and older with high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular conditions, dementia, and any other condition which makes it difficult to live independently. Social, health, and therapeutic services include monitoring health status, medication assistance, personal care, health education, being a liaison with personal physician, rehabilitation, nutrition, social work, and recreation. There is no charge for Medi-Cal eligible participants and private pay is on a sliding scale.
These senior centers help participants achieve and maintain their independence. They provide daily nutritionally-balanced, hot Chinese lunches, educational and recreational programs, exercise classes, workshops on personal safety and crime prevention, health classes, information and referrals to local services, social events such as field trips, walks, or holiday celebrations, and free health care screenings. All participants must be able to care for themselves independently. There is no admission charge. There is a fee for lunch, however. Lunch reservations are required one day in advance.
Friendly Visitors Program 275 – 7th Street, Oakland (510) 763-9017
This program provides companionship to homebound, socially-isolated Cantonese or Mandarin speaking seniors who are 60 years or older and reside in North Alameda County (Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont). Volunteers make regular visits and telephone calls as well as provide light shopping assistance. These program volunteers are an important link to the outside world for these isolated seniors. This no-fee service may have a waiting list.
Social Services program 168 – 11th Street, Oakland (510) 839-2022 Ext. 211
This helpful program provides general information, referrals, citizenship services, and notary public services. The staff is bilingual in Cantonese, Mandarin, Toishanese, and English. For other languages, they use on-demand, telephonic interpretation services.
Lake Merritt Child Care Center
This child care center provides a warm, safe, and nurturing environment for children. They promote bilingual and bi-cultural learning by integrating the Chinese language into the children's daily activities. The preschool program is for children ages 2 to 5 years old. The after-school program is for children ages 5 to 7 years old.
To learn more about Family Bridges' programs and services, please visit their website.