Quirk-Silva Honors Orange County Korean Community Organizer and Humanitarian, Ellen Ahn, as 2019 Woman of the Year

Monday, March 4, 2019

Annual Ceremony held in recognition of Women’s History Month

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) and the California State Assembly honored Ellen Ahn as the 65th Assembly District Woman of the Year 2018. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva recognized the Orange County leader for her community involvement during the annual Assembly Floor ceremony.

“Ellen Ahn has been exceptionally talented in bringing valuable resources to the Orange County, and especially to the Korean American community.” said Quirk-Silva. “She has started from small, grassroots organizing to large-scale community organizing in order to provide people with a myriad of resources. She is a living example of a leader that gets results for the people of Orange County.”

Ellen Ahn, and her family, has lived in the Fullerton community of North Orange County for more than 20 years. Ellen is an active member of the Fullerton Korean Presbyterian Church and has been very involved with many local non-profit organizations which, help to strengthen the community.

"I try to live by a verse in the Gospel according to Luke: “to whom much was given, of him much will be required,” said Ellen Ahn. “To me, that means taking what I have; my energy and resources, which at times may not seem much to others, and to seize opportunities to be of help in any situation work towards making the community around me a bit better."

Ellen has been the Executive Director of Korean Community Services (KCS), since 1998 and has led the growth of the agency from a small group of five employees to over ninety strong, today. KCS is a vibrant and dynamic multi-service community based organization in Orange County providing health and human service programs to Koreans and other populations. They assist clients through the KCS Health Center, a federally qualified health center providing primary care and behavioral health services to over 2,000 uninsured and low income patients; KC Services, an outpatient alcohol and drug treatment facility providing services to court mandated and volunteer clients in need of substance abuse and family violence counseling services; and Bokji Center, a Korean community based organization providing a wide range of services to low income Korean Americans in Orange County including mental health programs, a food bank, immigration, legal services and community education programs.

In addition to overseeing the programs, administration and development of Korean Community Services, Ellen Ahn has been active on many community based boards and coalitions, including CalOptima, the Orange County Human Relations Commission, the Coalition of OC Community Health Centers, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-OC, the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies and the California Institute of Behavioral Health Services, among many others. Ms. Ahn is committed to issues involving health care access, substance abuse, mental illness, family violence and disparities. She holds a B.A. in History from Yale University, a J.D. from Georgetown University and an M.S.W. from the University of Southern California.