How Day One Plans to Cure Pasadena Teens' Long Summer Days of Boredom

The Block 9 youth event series reads like vacation adventures for teens, with fun names like “Pasadena Pachanga” and “Hawaiian Luau”

Published : Monday, July 30, 2018 | 5:06 AM

These are the dog days of summer. The heat takes hold, and if you’re a Pasadena teen or a family with teens at loose ends, it seems there’s nowhere to go and everything is too expensive.

Enter Day One Pasadena, who will hold their “Block 9” event series starting Wednesday, beginning a nine-day celebration of well-planned youth events.

The events read like vacation brochures or resort events: Fit Fest, Pachanga Pasadena, Bike in Movie Night, Hawaiian Luau, Metro Adventure, Magic Mountain and Beach Party!

“We hold these events because there very few low cost activities for families to engage in” explained Christy Zamani, Executive Director of Day One, “the families and the community that we serve don’t have the resources to engage in high cost activities. In order to fill that gap, our team comes together to identify events that we think could be interesting and exciting to the people we serve, with no costs attached.”

As Zamani continued, “Just going to the movies these days for a family of four can cost you over $100. We do our best to provide our community with fun outlets that are free, culturally competent, and accesible.”

Day One’s efforts are aimed not just at physical fitness, Zamani noted, but also at alleviating the everyday summer boredom of Pasadena youth without a lot of local options.

Said Zamani, “I’m sure very often you would find a number of students hanging outside a Starbucks, with a Frappuccino since that’s about all they can afford.”

“We don’t have the most affordable theaters or bowling alleys in town … ,” Zamani added, saying, “I’m sure you remember back in the day there used to be a mall with food courts, but now, we have more upscale dining in Pasadena, so there’s not really places our students can frequent. We’re trying to do our best to identify some free, fun, healthy, and affordable outlets for them to hang out and have a good time in a safe way where they’re supervised.”

Much of the credit for the success of Day One’s community work springs from collaborations with the City and other non-profits, as well.

Day One often teams up with the Lightbringer Project, sponsors of such events as the Doo-Dah Parade, and the Chalk Festival.

“We work with the Pasadena Health Department,” said Zamani, “and we work with the Pasadena Human Services and Recreation Department, so it really is always a ‘village’ kind of mentality in doing the work we do.”

And the organization also works with a wide range of offerings for youth, not simply physical fitness.

“Block 9” is a two-week series of nine events beginning with ‘Fit Fest’ Wednesday, followed by the Bike-In Movie project, which includes a free summer bike repair program, and says, Zamani, “and that really is changing the environment here in Pasadena by giving people a healthier way of getting around town that’s good for our air quality and is good for people and their wellness. So there are a lot of broken bikes sitting in the garage, and it’s really inspiring to see families come in, wheeling their broken bikes, and they’ll ride out together as a unit. That’s pretty neat.”

‘With ‘Push Play,’ on Friday,”Zamani explained, “we try to highlight local musicians. So those students who are running garage bands that we can highlight, and make them feel good about the music they’re making and give them a venue to express their talents in a healthy way.”

And Zamani notes perhaps the most important aspects of the range of events, in that they are all free.

“It’s free, it’s in a safe setting and our team has worked really hard to create special events,” said Zamani. “I think that really promotes cultural diversity of our community, pointing to the Pachanga Pasadena event on Saturday.

“There’s going to be live banda soccer playing, and tacos,” said Zamani. “It’s a way of just really bringing the community together again.”

Zamani continued, “When hosting these events, we’ll discover priceless moments where someone will tell us, ‘Oh, this is my neighbor, I’ve lived next to them for 10 years, but we’ve never talked until now.’ So, it really is an opportunity to create a place where people can start building community again. As they say to us, ‘Oh, that’s my neighbor, I have a reason to talk to them. We’re in a safe space together right now, going to this shared experience. So that’s something we really pride ourselves in.”

For all the information about the full line-up, click here

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