Wilma Chan

Wood Middle School students help out at an Adopt-a-School event. Photo courtesy of Alex Boskovich.

When Alameda High School became home to one of Alameda County’s first school-based health centers, in 1993, its arrival aroused a storm of protest.

“There were certain elements who thought it was a place to distribute condoms,” said Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who said she led the early effort to establish a similar center at Encinal High in 1999. “But it’s much more than that.”

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan is casting a spotlight on cuts that state lawmakers want to make to health care and social services for the county’s poor, sick, young and old. Chan held a hearing at Alameda’s Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday night intended to detail the human impact of the cuts – and to ask participants to pressure lawmakers to reconsider them.

“We live next to these folks that are impacted. We go to church with these people. We see our kids go to school with them,” said Chan, a former state lawmaker herself. “I think if people are aware of this, we can get a lot more help from people who are really devastated and really suffering right now.”