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Press Release

‘50 Years of Helping People Grow’

Kaiser Permanente’s 2017 Rose Parade® Float celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Watts Counseling and Learning Center

December 14, 2016



Detail of float, two people sitting in a garden near Watts Tower

PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente will kick-off the 50th anniversary celebration of its Watts Counseling and Learning Center with a float entitled, “50 Years of Helping People Grow.” Since 1967, the WCLC has been an anchor of the community that helps people grow by providing educational services and resources, community outreach and mental health care to nearly 2,000 people of all ages each year. Kaiser Permanente Health Plan membership is not required to participate in the services offered at the Center.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center’s golden anniversary,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region. “An essential element of Kaiser Permanente’s work for over 70 years has been to improve the total health of our members and the communities we serve.” She added, “We look forward to continuing our deep commitment to helping people grow and thrive in Watts and the surrounding communities.”

Logo for Watts Counseling and Learning Center, 50th anniversaryThe WCLC has become a force in helping to transform and improve the community by working with and building alliances with numerous partners and programs and with the people who live, work, learn and play in Watts. Examples of some of the services and programs the WCLC provides include:

  • Individual, family, marital, parent/child and group therapy in English and Spanish, and specialized support for children experiencing life threatening illnesses within their families.
  • Individual or small group educational therapy for children with learning difficulties.
  • A full day, early childhood education program that develops school-readiness skills and motivates preschool children to enjoy learning.
  • Unique outreach programs to help students of all ages achieve academic and personal success, including homework assistance, SAT/ACT preparation classes and personal development.
  • A Farmers Market, in partnership with other community agencies, to provide local families with access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, in honor of the Center’s founder, Bill Coggins, MSW, LCSW, the WCLC also annually awards the Community Scholarship in his name to selected college-bound high school seniors in recognition of their extraordinary community leadership and service.

Detail of float, kids studying and playing while a teacher watches over them in a garden near Watts Tower“Over the years we have remained true to our motto of “Helping People Grow” and this year’s Rose Parade theme, “Echoes of Success,” couldn’t be more evocative of the Center’s accomplishments,” said Joanne A. Robinson, MEd, director, Kaiser Permanente WCLC. Joanne will be riding on the float and notes: “This idea that improving the health of our community requires more than health care services has been a guiding principle that has shaped our programs, allowed us to expand our services and kept us passionate as each day we work toward meeting the evolving needs of the Watts community.”

Detail of float, woman has a farmers market booth while a teen in basket ball jersey watches a kid play in a garden near Watts TowerThe float features iconic landmarks in the community, including the street signs where the WCLC is located on the corner of Success Avenue and 103rd Street. The world famous Watts Towers are portrayed on the float, not only as an enduring symbol of this vibrant community, but as a representation of an art environment constructed by a single, self-taught artist: Simon Rodia. In fact, the Watts Towers Arts Center is located on the grounds of the Watts Towers, and classes are conducted for both teachers and students in painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance and other multi-media arts. For decades, the Towers have been the focus of cultural and artistic movements addressing issues of social and economic justice. Today, the Watts Towers serve as a symbol of pride, creativity and initiative for the local communities and beyond.

Riding on the float this year will be 11 individuals who are current or former WCLC clients and employees. They will be joined by community members from Watts, Oregon and Washington D.C., representing other local community programs such as the Watts Towers Arts Center, East Side Riders Bike Club, and national programs such as Safe Routes to School and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

“50 Years of Helping People Grow” marks Kaiser Permanente’s 12th Rose Parade appearance. Designed and built once again by Fiesta Parade Floats, all of Kaiser Permanente’s past float entries have received an award, including the Grand Marshal’s Trophy for excellence in creative concept and design (2016); Judge’s Special Trophy for the most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact (2015); Theme Trophy for excellence in presenting the parade theme (2013); Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful float entry from a non-commercial sponsor (2012, 2014); Director’s Trophy for most artistic merit in design and floral presentation (2011, 2008, 2006); Extraordinaire Trophy for the “most spectacular” float longer than 55 feet (2010); Tournament Special Trophy for exceptional merit in multiple classifications (2009); and President’s Trophy for most effective floral use and presentation (2007).

For additional information about the 2017 Rose Parade and the WCLC visit:

community.kp.org/watts, Kaiser Permanente Rose Parade Float on Facebook, the Tournament of Roses website, and other social media networks using the hashtags; #kpwatts50 #kptogether.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.