Khmer Girls In Action

FIGHTING FOR WELLNESS. Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) are working to advocate for wellness centers for youth on the campuses of three Long Beach high schools.

To further empower the community, Khmer Girls in Action (KGA) is hosting its eighth annual Yellow Lounge, “Youth at the C.O.R.E. Fighting for Wellness” event to promote health and healing.

The event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday, May 11, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, at 607 Third St.

KGA is known for focusing on leadership development for Cambodian high school girls, who learn how to channel their well-being in a holistic manner, with one of the priorities of KGA is to develop sisterhood and healthy relationships.

Each year, girls can move up into the program, and receive community organizing skills, which allows them to head out into the city to evoke the positive changes they wish to see manifest. One of those goals includes the establishment of wellness centers on the campuses of three Long Beach schools.

“Friday’s event is tied to our current wellness campaign,” said KGA Program Coordinator Justine Calma. “We want to get wellness centers at Poly, Cabrillo and Jordan high schools to focus on mental, reproductive and general heath care.”

While still early in its campaign to establish on-campus wellness centers for youth, KGA has garnered more than 1,800 signatures on a petition for the cause, Calma said.

“We’re talking about physical, emotional, mental wellness so its holistic,” she added. “We want to have these centers at the schools because we want them to achieve academically. If their mental, physical and emotional needs aren’t met, it impacts their ability to reach academic success.”

The Yellow Lounge “Youth at the C.O.R.E. Fighting for Wellness” event will include art demonstrations and live performances from youth and community members, who will share their stories through visual art, music, dance, theater and spoken word performances.

Other performances will include youth rappers the Shining Sons, Recon Dance Crew, Oh Ok Crew and a film screening of “My Asian America,” which is produced and directed by Anida Yoeu.

“It will be a fun event,” Calma said. “It will be a place for them to express themselves and tell their stories. We also will have an art gallery showcasing work from different youth in Long Beach who submitted some art.”

Through recent surveys and extensive research, KGA discovered that nearly 55% of youth in Long Beach are living in poverty, which forces them to live unhealthy, stressful lives that leads to issues related to mental health.

“We want to highlight what impacts the students’ wellness and what resources they need to help support it,” Calma said.

The Yellow Lounge “Youth at the C.O.R.E. Fighting for Wellness” event is free to the public. For more information about KGA and its programs, visit www.kgalb.org.

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