PASSi's mission is "to promote the well-being of Asian American seniors and other adults
who are disadvantaged by their language and cultural barriers."
Penn Asian Senior Services (PASSi) was founded by the current CEO, Im Ja Choi, in 2004 as Korean American Senior Services of Pennsylvania (KASSP) in order to help her own mother, who was recovering from stomach cancer. As the first Asian-focused homecare agency in Pennsylvania, KASSP’s work began January 2005, inside a 500 sq. ft., rent-free space in Abington, PA, generously provided by Abington Memorial Hospital. Towards the end of the first year, KASSP was able expand its operation to a larger 3,500 sq. ft. facility in Jenkintown, PA.
During this time, Ms. Choi came to learn that seniors and aging adults within other Asian communities, such as the Chinese and Vietnamese populations, also had limited access to culturally and linguistically appropriate long-term aging services. In September 2005, she requested the Board’s approval to change KASSP to PASSi, to be inclusive of all Asian seniors in Southeast Pennsylvania who are in need of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to comfortably age at home. Her request was granted in December 2005.
In 2006, PASSi established a State licensed vocational school, Penn Asian Vocational Institute (PAVI). PAVI provides quality training for PASSi’s Home Health Aides and also produce bilingual Certified Nursing Assistants for local health institutions. PAVI’s trainings are all conducted by bilingual RNs, with certified HHA training offered in several Asian languages (Korean, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, and Khmer) and English.In 2008, PASSi surpassed 100 clients with increased funding and staff support. PASSi received $850,000 over a three-year period from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, substantially boosting PASSi’s financial capacity to produce more qualified entry level home and health care workers. By 2019, PAVI has produced 877 Home Health Aides and 388 Certified Nurse Aides.
In 2011, PASSi’s story received national exposure when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognized Ms. Choi with the Community Health Leader Award. Ms. Choi gave $105,000 of the $125,000 award to University Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice, to support statistical research for Asian seniors in the Greater Philadelphia region.In 2014, PASSi purchased a two building property and moved it’s headquarter to Philadelphia. The added space allowed PASSi to establish an adult day care center, Penn Asian Jubilee Center (PAJC). With capacity to serve 100 clients daily, PAJC offers culturally and linguistically respectful center-based programming for Asian seniors to continuously live within the community of their choice.
In January 2017, PASSi opened the PACE Center under the Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) Program from the State Department of Aging. PACE Center provides education and application assistance for public benefit programs to limited-English proficient Asian seniors, aging adults and families. In 2018 alone, PASSi’s PACE Center assisted over 200 households to help them better afford their prescription, food, heat and more.
In September 2017, PASSi’s committed work and achievement for underserved Asian seniors received international recognition from the Global Ageing Network (GAN). PASSi was selected as the 2017 recipient of the “Excellence in Aging Service Award” at GAN’S bi-annual conference, held in Montreux, Switzerland.
In April 2019, PASSi opened Evergreen Center, a long awaited culturally appropriate senior community center for active Asian retirees. Evergreen Center brings together isolated seniors to its state of the art facility, featuring a commercial kitchen equipped to prepare Asian ethnic meals, heated swimming pool and sauna, auditorium, garden café, fitness room, and other activities rooms to accommodate a wide array of physically and mentally engaging programs.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Penn Asian Senior Services launched PASSi Kitchen Xpress in April 2020. PASSi Kitchen Xpress is the first culturally-attuned meal delivery service providing freshly prepared meals to Asian American seniors.
In December 2020 PASSi was recognized for its industry-leading safety record, and selected to receive the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence (GASE). PASSi was one of three employers in the state to receive this award, out of 78 companies that were nominated.
Currently, PASSi is one of the most renowned homecare agencies in Southeast Pennsylvania, and the largest among Asian-serving agencies, by providing care to over 600 seniors and homebound adults annually. PASSi matches client’s with Home Health Aide(s) who share their language and culture, effectively providing homecare services in 19 languages languages. Our 540-plus well-trained Home Health Aide caregivers serve clients every day, including weekend and holidays, in the five-county region of Greater Philadelphia.