Day One Rings In 30 Years of Service and the Fall Season With Dia De Los Muertos Celebration

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4:39 am | October 14, 2017

Day One celebrated 30 years of providing effective public health education and policy development in Pasadena with a Dia De Los Muertos-themed evening Thursday featuring festive live music, interactive art, and homestyle food to ring in the fall season.

The celebration also paid homage to Day One’s legacy of community leadership by honoring three exceptional community leaders who have demonstrated initiative, consciousness, and giving back.

“A large population of the people that we serve are latino in Pasadena. This a very loved holiday and it’s rich in history and culture. I think it’s a great tie-in to the public health issues,” said Day One Executive Director Christy Zamani.

Originally founded back in 1987, in response to high rates of teen drug use in the Pasadena area by a group of community leaders committed to improving the health and safety of youth in Pasadena, today Day One continues to advance public health and ignite change in Pasadena and beyond.

“We’ve lost so many of our loved ones to these issues that we’re bringing attention to,” said Zamani.

The outdoor celebration featured six eye-popping alters that were built by Day One students to address the different areas that Day One is working on currently to address public health concerns in the city, according to Zamani.

The alters included colorful displays of different themes that included bicycle safety, to alcohol and drugs, obesity and more.

“They will be up for the rest of the month so the community is invited to come over and participate in those alters,” said Zamani.

Many local leaders and organizations joined the celebration including Pasadena Public Health Department, Senator Anthony Portantino, representatives from Assemblyman Chris Holden’s office, field representatives from Pasadena City Council, families, and more.

“Really our Pasadena family is here tonight,” said Zamani.

In between live mariachi performances and Dia De Los Muertos inspired dance numbers, Day One honored three community members who have demonstrated initiative, consciousness, and giving back to not only Day One, but to the community at large.

Honorees included Marty Coleman, co-founder of Sustainable World and Conscientious Projector, who advocates sustainable living and has utilized her urban garden to educate elementary students on the importance of caring for the earth; Ricky Biel is a Pasadena-based financial advisor at Haydel Biel and Associates who is active in the Pasadena community, arranging opportunities for HBA Wealth to support the efforts of charities such as the UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Academy of Special Dreams, Union Station Homeless Services, Ronald McDonald House and Children of the Night; and William Syms, Executive Director of Mentoring and Partnership for Youth Development, a male mentoring program based at Muir High School.

“Day One services the community and Day One is community so events like this allow us to come together and celebrate such a wonderful organization as well as get to know each other a little more and talk to each other about issues that we’re passionate about,” said

Syms is passionate about youth, education, and job opportunities within the community.

“I think young people are our future. I know that educating young people is important so that they can connect to the careers in their future,” said Syms.

The celebration kicks off a series of holiday events that will come to town in the coming months and include a Thanksgiving celebration that will bring an estimated 300 Day One students and alumni together and also December’s “Cherishing Children” event that will serve 500 families with toys and other services.

Over the last 10 years, the capacity and effectiveness of Day One’s work as a community-based organization has reached new heights. Under the leadership of Executive Director Christy Zamani, Day One has grown from only 2 staff members to over 15 staff members, opened two additional offices in the cities of El Monte and Pomona, and expanded the reach of its public health education, programing, and grassroots policy development to high-need communities throughout the greater San Gabriel Valley.

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