Department of Human Services and Recreation Director Brenda Harvey-Williams Will Update City Commission

Published : Monday, December 2, 2019 | 5:11 AM

Pasadena’s Department of Human Services and Recreation is now continuing its Mini-Winter Seasonal Recreation Programming, which started on November 4 and lasts up to December 14. The program currently has 1,142 registered participants, according to a report by Human Services and Recreation Director Brenda Harvey-Williams.

Harvey-Williams will present a full report on this and other recreation programming in Pasadena before the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission at its meeting on Tuesday, 6 p.m., at City Yards.

The department said registration is now open for the Villa-Parke Recreational Youth Soccer League, Pasadena’s largest league which begins in March 2020 and concludes by June. The league features a new “Mini Stars” division for players ages three and under.

Brenda Harvey-Williams, Human Services and Recreation Director

In a preliminary written report for the Commission, the recreation department also said their Before- and After-School Adventures Program is now serving 759 participants.

Before-school care is offered at Don Benito, Hamilton and McKinley schools from 6:30 a.m. until school starts, and after-school care is provided at Jackson, Jefferson, Longfellow, Madison, San Rafael, Webster, Willard, Don Benito, Field, Hamilton, McKinley and Victory Park (for Norma Coombs students), from school dismissal until 6 p.m. Regular programming includes homework assistance, sports and fitness, and enrichment activities like science experiments, arts and crafts, and drama.

The Fall season, the department’s busiest season for events, started with Fiestas Patrias, the celebration of the independence of 18 Latin American Countries, on Friday, September 13 at Villa-Parke. The event featured live music, dance performances, and the crowning of a princess and court. The event drew a crowd of approximately 300, the report said.

The annual Latino Heritage and Festival on October 19 was also a great success, the report continued. Over 2,000 participants took part in the Latino Heritage parade, which featured local school and community groups, musicians, equestrians, elected officials, marching bands, and dignitaries. One of the highlights of the parade was the first official public appearance of the 2020 Rose Parade Royal Court.

The festival, held at Villa-Parke, showcased educational booths, fine art exhibits by Latino artists, arts and crafts, face painting and free activities for children, and resource booths. The festival main stage featured cultural dance troops, singers, and bands. This year’s headliner was the well-known cumbia band “La Sonora Dinamita.”

Fall Festival, the Recreation Department’s annual Halloween celebration at Victory Park, was held on October 26 and drew a crowd of approximately 1,500. The event featured a tiny tots zone, inflatable games, pony rides, costume contests, fundraising booths for local school clubs, and food for purchase made for family fun.

The department was also busy with the annual Dia De Los Muertos event, done in partnership with the Armory Center for the Arts in the auditorium at Villa-Parke Community Center on November 1. A crowd of about 125 enjoyed cultural dance troupes, “ofrendas,” altars honoring the life of the departed, face painting, and arts and crafts.

On November 9, the second annual Adaptive Sports Festival was held in partnership with the Triumph Foundation at Brookside Park. The Festival celebrated athletes of all abilities and offered beep baseball, bocce ball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair soccer, wheelchair basketball, boxing, pickleball archery, hand-cycling, Zumba, arts and crafts, a resource fair, and a free hot dog lunch sponsored by the Pasadena Police Athletic Association. The report said a crowd of 500 participants and 100 volunteers took part.

The Department also filled some key positions among its staff, including hiring Johnny Mack as full-time Recreation Site Coordinator at Washington Park; he was working part-time previously.

Among some promotions during the period, Erik Lomeli was promoted to the Recreation Services Specialist position overseeing the Adaptive Recreation Program. Alicia Sanchez was also promoted to a full-time Recreation Services Specialist position to assist with the administration of the before- and after-school programs.

The department is now preparing for the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting on Friday, December 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the City Hall Centennial Square, followed by a festive night of musical performances, free refreshments and a visit from Santa. Participants are advised to bring an unwrapped gift for the Pasadena Fire Department’s Spark of Love Toy Drive.

The La Pintoresca Holiday Tree Lighting is on Friday, December 13, 5 to 7 p.m. It’s time to gather with your neighbors, family and friends to celebrate the holiday season, enjoy holiday music, arts and crafts, story time and face painting, and a ride around the park on a trackless train while awaiting Santa Claus.

The Black History Parade and Festival is on Saturday, February 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Robinson Park. Considered one of Southern California’s largest Black History parades, this begins at 10 a.m. at Fair Oaks Avenue and Figueroa Drive and ends at Robinson Park.

You can stay and enjoy the festival at Robinson Park from 12 to 4 p.m. The festival features live bands, dance performances, community booths, guest speakers, food for purchase and fun.

For more information about the City’s recreation programming, visit www.cityofpasadena.net/human-services.

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