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Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) Records

Identifier: MS-0258

Scope and Contents

The Union of Pan Asian Communities Records document the organization’s social service programs for Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees (including Cambodian, Hmong, Loation, and Vietnamese) in the San Diego metropolitan area.  UPAC’s programming addressed the community organizing, health, educational, employment training, housing, and mental health needs of the immigrant & refugee community. Several programs placed special emphasis on services for the youth and the elderly. The collection includes a wide variety of documents, including correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, reports, service logs, project proposals, grant applications & grant progress reports, newsletters & newspapers

The collection is arranged into five series: UPAC Administrative Files (1967-1983), Indochinese Service center (ISC) Administrative Files (1975-1982), Program Files (1974-1987), Subject Files (1970-1987), Audio Visual Media (1970-1981).

The Administrative Files (1967-1983) document UPAC’s internal operations, including the agendas and minutes of the Board of Directors’ meetings; staff meeting agendas and minutes; correspondence; program and policy documents; staff training documents; and policy & program planning materials.

The Indochinese Service Center (ISC) Administrative Files (1975-1982) include agendas and minutes of Board meetings, including those of the ISC’s Advisory Board; Community Liaison monthly reports; client outreach logs; correspondence; staff monthly reports; and logs of the ISC’s Title XX (Social Security Act Block Grants) supported information and referral service. The ISC began in 1975 as the Vietnamese Information and Referral Center sponsored by UPAC. UPAC acted as a contractor for the ISC, and UPAC’s Executive Director delegated personnel, program, and financial responsibilities to the ISC Director. ISC’s Advisory Committee was composed of six members representing the Indochinese communities and agencies serving Indochinese refugees. In 1976-1978 ISC’s funding increased with support from San Diego County’s Human Care Services program, and then the State of California’s Department of Social Services’ Indochinese Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) funds provided under Title XX. The ISC’s initial programming focused providing refugees with orientations on life in the United States, and information & referral services, but by 1979, the ISC shifted its focus to the health needs of Indochinese refugees. By 1981, the ISC was serving over 500 families per month, and the ISC’s emphasis had shifted to coordination of services with existing agencies and indigenous organizations, such as Indochinese mutual assistance associations.

The Program Files (1974-1987) document UPAC’s social service programs for Southeast Asian immigrants & refugees, including: Community Organizing/Planning program, to “develop a community planning model in the first Supervisorial District, Administer a needs assessment survey in National City to assess community needs and gaps, and to provide program and community development assistance to the Pan Asian communities”. (Box 8/Fol. 2)

Indochinese Community Education and Health Project (ICHE), intended to impact the existing mental health services delivery system through the provision of Indochinese cultural awareness training to 200 mental health practitioners and officials through seminars.

Indochinese Youth Corps, which provided developmental opportunities for youth in problem solving, organizing, and active participation in the community.

Indirect Services provided training workshops, coordination and information sharing with other agencies, and a resource library.

UPAC’s Pan Asian Bulletin/Lua Viet Newsletter program, which provided community news and social service information, and published Vietnamese, Loation, Hmong, and Cambodian language editions.

Orientation program, providing audiovisual presentations on American culture, banking, consumer education, employment and job interviews, housing & home utilities (gas, electric, and water), and transportation. 

Pacific Asian Preventative Program (PAPP), providing preventive mental health services to Pan Asian residents in San Diego County.

Pan Asian Senior Services (PASS) program, providing home help and social services to limited English speaking seniors.

Pan Asian Youth Study, a needs assessment of Pacific Asian youth in San Diego County.

Project PACE (Pacific Asian Culture and Education), which provided a summer recreational/cultural program for Pan Asian youth.

Project Saladbowl, which provided a multicultural summer recreational for San Diego area youth.

Special Services program, providing “social services to individuals and families who because of language and cultural barriers do not utilize or experience difficulty in obtaining services from traditional community resources, in order to obtain a more satisfactory level of social functioning”. (Box 8/Fol. 1)

Several programs operated by other organizations partnered with UPAC include the Asian American Mental Health Federation; California Council for the Humanities; Home Help (San Diego County Office of Senior Citizens Affairs); National Pacific Asian Resource Center on Aging; and the San Diego Regional Youth Employment Program.

The Subject Files (1974-1987) include issues and programs of interest to UPAC’s social service mission.

Notable subjects include: Southeast Asian immigrant & refugee communities in San Diego; the Community Congress of San Diego; education at the state and local levels, including files on the San Diego City schools; bilingual education; services for elderly, women, and youth refugees; health services; housing; Pendleton Refugee Education Program (Project PREP); San Diego County’s Public Welfare Advisory Committee; Title XX services; and the United Way.

The Audio Visual Materials (1970-1981) include 35mm color slides and audiocassette tapes used in UPAC’s orientation presentations (slide shows) for immigrants & refugees.


  • Creation: 1967-1985
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1974-1982


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

The Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) was first organized in 1972, and incorporated in 1974, by founding Executive Director Beverly Yip and leaders of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. UPAC is a community service agency providing programs for a vast range of Asian and Pacific Island linguistic groups, including Japanese, Samoan, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese, Chamorro, Khmer, Ilocano, Hmong, and Lao groups in addition to others. During the 1970s and early 1980 UPAC was, funded with federal, state and private foundation support.

UPAC Historical Highlights, 1973-1982 1973 UPAC is created in response to the need to unite the small and geographically dispersed groups of Pan Asians. 1974 The City/County Human Care Service Program awarded UPAC with its first grant of $36,000; The Pan Asian Bulletin, UPAC's first newsletter, is sponsored by Lamb Chevrolet.; UPAC incorporated as a private, non-profit organization on December 16, 1974. 1975 UPAC and COPAO (Council of Pilipino American Organizations) created the Employment Consortium Project (now known as Occupational Training Services) with an initial manpower contract.

The first wave of Southeast Asian refugees arriving at Camp Pendleton participated in cross-cultural adjustment programs develop by UPAC staff and volunteers.

The PacFinder, a directory of individuals and services available to Pan Asians, was compiled and distributed.

UPAC staff provides income tax assistance through the federal VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program.

Pan Asian Senior Services (PASS) was funded by the Area Agency on Aging.

UPAC moved to 2459 Market Street, San Diego - its home for the next five years.

The City of San Diego awarded funding to UPAC to operate a summer youth program for Pan Asian youths.

A Senior Nutrition Program jointly sponsored by UPAC and Operation Samahan/COPAO was funded by the Area Agency on Aging.

UPAC sponsored its first annual Culture Fair in May.

UPAC was funded by the City to operate the Pan Asian Family Shelter, which provided emergency housing for families in distress.

The County's Department of Human Services awarded UPAC with a $10,000 grant for Vietnamese Adjustment Services (VAS); eventually these services were expanded to all refugees under the Indochinese Service Center (ISC).

The Tiny Tots Christmas Program provided gifts and treats to several hundred low income Asian children.

The Pacific Asian Preventive Program (PAPP) was funded for $100,000 by the County to provide mental health services to Pan Asians.

1977 The Convair Contrib Club's donation of $1,600 for building improvements was utilized to renovate the main office's basement into more office space.

1978 Four conferences were sponsored by the California Council on Humanities and Public Policy on education, affirmative action, human care services and immigration.

The Indochinese Community Health/Education Project (ICHE) was awarded $150,000 from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to train Southeast Asian mental health paraprofessionals.

1979 Two research studies were completed; one on Pan Asian Youth and the other on Samoans in San Diego County.

The Pan Asian Parent Education Project (PAPEP) was funded for three years from the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect to develop a model of parent education services for Pan Asian families.

PAPP, ICHE and Trabajadores de la Raza joined forces to create the Pacific Asian/ Latino Training Center (PALTC), which was eventually funded for five years by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a mental health training model for Latino and Pacific Asian paraprofessionals.

1980 PAPP received one-time-only funding with which to develop an audio-visual preventive mental health slide presentation and to translate mental health materials.

Social Assault Workshops were funded through the Office of Criminal Justice Planning for other service providers to learn more about working with Pan Asian social assault victims. Updating and re-issuing Understanding the Pan Asian Client was possible through this funding, also.

The Pan Asian Senior Nutrition Program was funded through the Area Agency on Aging.

The Indochinese Youth Corps was funded through the California Department of Youth Authority to provide delinquency prevention services for Southeast Asian youths.

1981 UPAC moves into its own building at 1031-25th Street, San Diego, with the financial backing of hundreds of individuals.

A Handbook on working with Asian Wives is funded by the Office of Domestic Violence.

1982 The National Clients Council funds a leadership training class for the foreign-born.

Ethnographic Studies on Vietnamese and Khmer Adjustment are completed.

Refugee Title XX Type Services funded by the Department of Social Services.


78.30 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Union of Pan Asian Communities Records are arranged into five series: UPAC Administrative Files (1967-1983), Indochinese Service center (ISC) Administrative Files (1975-1982), Program Files (1974-1987), Subject Files (1970-1987), Audio Visual Media (1970-1981).  Each series is arranged alphabetically by file title. Series III: Programs is arranged into 31 subseries, alphabetically by program title.

Method of Acquisition




Processing Information

Processed 2016-2017.

Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) Records
Lucas Buresch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US