Center for Empowering

Refugees and Immigrants



Our mission is to improve the social, emotional, psychological, economic, and physical health of refugees and immigrants

Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants (CERI) is a nonprofit organization based in Oakland with a mission to improve the social, emotional, psychological, economic, and physical health of refugees and immigrants from Southeast Asia affected by war, torture, genocide or other forms of extreme trauma.

Founded in 2005 by a group of bilingual/bicultural mental health professionals, CERI provides culturally-relevant mental health and other social services. We are dedicated to transforming the lives of refugees and immigrants and their families, many of whom suffer from weakening intergenerational relationships, layers of complex needs, and exposure to violence and trauma both in their current environments and in their native countries.


What We Do


Adult and Older Adult Program

CERI offers a holistic array of culturally-sensitive bilingual services that support the mental health and well-being of refugee and immigrant clients who have multiple layers of complex needs.

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Wellness in Action

Wellness in Action (WiA) is a workforce training and development program for para-professional community mental health advocates from unserved and underserved refugee and new immigrant communities in the Bay Area. 

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LGBTQ+ Community

CERI is proud to be expanding services to LGBTQ+ refugees and immigrants of color, with a focus on the Southeast Asian community.

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Youth Leadership

CERI’s Youth Leadership Program offers a safe space for young folks to develop community organizing skills, explore mental health issues, and promote personal wellness and self-esteem. CERI believes the youth are part of the solution, and with the partnership of adult allies can move to create positive social change.

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The Next Generation of Southeast Asian Leaders


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Our Impact

Over the last two decades, CERI has gradually built deep bonds of trust with its client population, encouraging clients to take an active role in their own healing and in supporting others in their community to heal. Specific benefits include:

  • Reduced symptoms of trauma and PTSD.

  • An increased sense of wellness and enjoyment of life.

  • Reduced need for psychiatric medications.

  • Reduced social isolation and greater sense of community.

  • Increased involvement in local politics.

  • Greater involvement in the wider community through off-site activities.

  • Emerging leadership behavior demonstrated by adult and youth clients.

  • Improved intergenerhtoinal relationships.

  • Financial and housing stability.