Established in 1973, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) emerged during the Asian American movement by community leaders to serve the Filipino American community in what is now known as the Historic Filipinotown neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the 80s-90s, when much violence rocked Los Angeles amidst gangs, riots and protests, SIPA served as a safe zone and pillar of strength for the community. Then and now, SIPA continues to ensure that the needs of underserved Filipinos and residents of Historic Filipinotown are addressed, especially for youth and their families.
SIPA’s mission is to enrich and empower generations of Pilipino Americans and others by providing health and human services, community economic development, arts and culture, and a place where people of all backgrounds come together to strengthen community.
SIPA’s core values, which define and guide our core work are based on the following Indigenous Pilipino values:
Kawanggawa: From "awa" (compassion) and "gawa" (action), refers to charity, "a kind act" or "deed of mercy". Based on notion of pakikipagkapwa, or shared humanity.
Damayan: From "damay" (to involve, implicate, draw in), refers to the involvement/engagement aspect of service and community development.
Pagtutulongan: From "tulong" (help), refers to peer to peer assistance and in an egalitarian spirit of mutual self-help.
SIPA Programs and Services
SIPA's three pillars of work are Health and Human Services, Community Economic Development, and Arts and Culture. Guided by these pillars, SIPA serves approximately 1500 low-income, disadvantaged, underserved, at-risk, multi-ethnic youth and families of color in the Historic Filipinotown community of Los Angeles, and Filipino Americans throughout Los Angeles County. SIPA offers the following and plans to bring back our in-person programming once it is safe to do so:
Mental Health Support: Programs and services for Filipino Americans to maintain wellbeing and destigmatize mental health and wellness, including outreach, community education, mental health support and linkages to resources, Mental Health First Aid training, Mag Usap Mondays, as well as in-language case management and counseling related to family preservation.
Youth Programs: After school program, Filipino Summer Program, Filipino Martial Arts, Tagalog classes, tutoring, arts, dance, music and recreation programs, cultural education workshops
Community Programs: Senior recreation, dancing and Tai-Chi, Senior technology education class, community gardening, as well as community celebrations including the annual Halloween Carnival, Holiday Toy Distribution, parol making workshop
Small Business Assistance Program: Supports for small businesses including counseling, training, industry expert guidance, Entrepreneurship Training Program, financial literacy and home ownership workshops.
Filipinos Feed the Frontlines: In response to the pandemic and the resulting crisis impacting individuals unable to access food, and the struggling restaurants, this program solicits contributions to support Filipino restaurants in providing meals to those working frontline jobs and vulnerable communities.