South Cove Community Health Center (SCCHC) celebrated its 45th anniversary celebration and sapphire gala on Sept. 9 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. About 460 guests attended the gala for the community health center.
SCCHC was originally part of the Asian American Civic Association until 1972, when the health center opened in a storefront on Harrison Avenue. Today, it serves 32,000 people in four locations at Boston and Quincy, with a fifth location in Malden to open. More than 90 percent of its patients speak an Asian language as their first language. SCCHC was ranked No. 1 out of Massachusetts’ 27 community health centers in 2016.
“As we express gratitude, we must not utter words but show action,” said SCCHC board president Nelson Liu.
The health center recognized Helen Chin Schlichte with a Humanitarian Award. Amy Guen received the Lifetime Achievement Award, along with executive director Eugene Welch. Each awardee was filmed by director Kenneth Eng, detailing their life experiences and what brought them to SCCHC.
Chin Schlichte spoke about growing up in Charlestown and helping her father interpret for Chinese elders needing medical attention. When he passed away, her mother raised nine children and ran a laundry without taking welfare. Chin Schlichte worked as a public administrator until 2003 and serves on several nonprofit boards.
“Helping people is easy. You get satisfaction knowing you have a positive impact on somebody’s life,” Chin Schlichte said. She dedicated her award to her parents and late husband George Schlichte.
Guen was born in Boston’s Chinatown, the eldest of six siblings, and became a social worker. She founded SCCHC, South Cove Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Asian American Civic Association, originally the Chinese American Civic Association.
“I did work for 65 years,” Guen said. “Being needed is important in life, so do volunteering and fulfill opportunities.”
In 1998, Welch was a retired manufacturing executive, brought in to balance South Cove’s finances for six months. He revamped the budget in three months, streamlining operations and finding a location to rent. Welch was hired as chief operating officer and has been executive director since 2002.
“Happiness is helping others … I’m lucky to join and do my part,” Welch said.
The health center commissioned artist Peter Ng to paint a portrait of Welch for its Chinatown location. Janet Wu hosted the event, while Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy performed a lion dance and the Fenway String Quartet provided live music.
Local public servants attended the dinner, including Malden Mayor Gary Christenson and Quincy City Councilor Nina Liang. State Rep. Tackey Chan of Quincy presented a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
SCCHC’s mission is to serve the Asian community of Massachusetts with affordable, accessible and culturally competent health care.