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Alicia DeLeon-Torres's blog posts

posted 12/06/2010

He offered her food. Bacor knew the drill. To work in the Filipino community, one had to go through a cultural 'dance' of introductions to find commonalities so there would be a smoother and more trusting foundation to begin a relationship, albeit professional and in quick need. Even though she wasn't hungry, she knew she had to take the food so she wouldn’t seem ungrateful and not wanting to socialize – to bond. She sat for what she knew would be a long tedious unraveling of the "real" story from the father's point of view, then the son. She knew that somewhere in the middle of their story was the beginning of the truth.

posted 11/22/2010

At 18 years old, my mother took me to play bingo at a local American Indian reservation. It was a bare hall, lined with long rows of tables and filled with mostly middle aged women. My mother bought eight cards - 4 for her and 4 for me. The woman next to me had 32 cards enclosed in a perimeter of lucky trinkets. I remember thinking, "she's got a problem". The woman listened intently, then marked her cards quickly and with conviction. At several points, I lagged behind in marking my cards. My mom was no better. We were novices. The woman next to us looked annoyed.

posted 07/31/2010

It's been 2 weeks since the National Health Journalism Fellowship Convening 2010.  I've felt a burst of renewed energy since meeting and bonding with my fellow fellows and WONDERFUL presenters.  I feel blessed to have been chosen to be part of such an esteemed group! 

Alicia DeLeon-Torres's Blog

He offered her food. Bacor knew the drill. To work in the Filipino community, one had to go... more »
posted 12/06/10
At 18 years old, my mother took me to play bingo at a local American Indian reservation. It was a... more »
posted 11/22/10
It's been 2 weeks since the National Health Journalism Fellowship Convening 2010.  I've felt... more »
posted 07/31/10

Alicia DeLeon-Torres's Work

The story is almost always the same. The first time parents find out their son or daughter is involved in gang activity is when the police officer comes to door and makes an arrest. Sometimes officers are met with crying or angry parents. Other times, the front door is slammed in their face. Most often, the officers encounter parents who are in denial or blindsided because they truly didn’t know.

Pureza Bacor recalls the Filipino father, a single parent, who called at 4:55 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. He spoke in hushed tones and in near tears. “Do you speak Tagalog? I can speak in English but what I need to say, I can’t express myself right in English. I need to speak to someone who speaks to Tagalog,” pleaded the father.

Gamblers are at a higher risk of suicide, stress-related illnesses, divorce, bankruptcy, arrests and incarceration. Those seeking help for their addiction usually do so when close to or in the midst of crisis. In many cases, the call for help initially doesn’t come from the gambling addict, but from a concerned or aggravated family member. For years, immigrant or refugee Asians living in California have found the search for assistance is difficult. Many treatment providers didn’t understand the cultural nuances or risk factors, much less speak the language needed by the gambling addict or their family.