RSVP partner site IDIC (International Drop-In Center) got its start back in the 1970s when Sabino Cabildo returned to Seattle from serving in Vietnam. He witnessed many elderly living in cramped and run-down quarters in Chinatown sustaining themselves through periodic work in Alaska and elsewhere. They had few, if any, relatives to rely upon. Sabino’s activist interest compelled him to call attention to the plight of these elderly Filipinos. He formed the IDIC at 6th & Maynard Streets in the summer of 1971.
At the time, none of the agencies in the International District had any interest in helping elderly Filipinos in the area, and IDIC quickly took the active role of focusing attention to their plight. There was growing concern over the impending construction of the Kingdome Stadium which, because of its proximity to Chinatown, spurred fears of displacement for those living there. Activist protests from young Asian youth – and soon thereafter concerned adult volunteers from the health and religious professions – made a difference as they stepped forward to help. The collective effort sustained the movement, and in August of 1974, IDIC became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable organization.
Services & activities
At the present home of IDIC on Beacon Hill in South Seattle, there are a broad range of activities and services available to members and community residents such as information and assistance, veterans’ advocacy and benefits assistance, health seminars, estate planning guidance/referrals, subsidized housing referrals, disability and public benefits advocacy, and other concerns that senior citizens encounter.
Seniors benefit from programs such as PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives for Seniors), developed by mental health specialists to address mild depression in veterans, their spouses, and adults 55 years and older. IDIC hosts a senior community dining program in collaboration with Sound Generations, prepared by a specialist Filipino chef. It provides an ideal venue for seniors to socialize. A food bank is also available for seniors in need of food support.
Volunteers are key
In addition to services offered to seniors at IDIC, there are numerous activities to keep everyone engaged and having fun at the center – ranging from bingo, line dancing and fitness programs, Filipino TV programming, folk dancing and singing, table games, and karaoke – to monthly birthday celebrations and field trips. There is no excuse for being bored if you are a member of IDIC!
IDIC is managed by an Executive Director who reports to an all-volunteer 15-member Board. With its current limited resources, IDIC has a total of nine full and part-time staff with support from tireless volunteers, both young and old. Without their help, IDIC would not be able to deliver services and run activities that benefit the community.
Volunteers play a crucial role in the center, in implementing programs, raising funds through events, assisting in daily operations and activities, and helping ensure that IDIC can continue to support and serve more than 500 seniors each year. Volunteers are, without a doubt, the heart and soul of this organization.