Under the leadership of Brenda Harvey-Williams, Pasadena’s Park, Recreation and Community Services Department is dedicated to activating recreational spaces with high-quality, affordable programming, preserving natural areas, maintaining clean, safe parks, and supporting the most vulnerable in our community through accessible assistance and community services.
Harvey-Williams, a 35-year City Hall veteran, was appointed Director in 2018. For her, the pandemic helped underscore the importance of parks. Park usage hit highs as Pasadenans sought safe outdoor spaces to recreate and reduce stress. While the pandemic was detrimental to in-person services, it solidified vital next steps for the Department---focusing on youth engagement, and the return to providing in-person wellness opportunities with a focus on key demographics of youth and older adults.
To that end, Harvey-Williams does not want cost to prevent any child from participating in recreation programs. With the approval of the City Council, many offerings for Pasadena youth and PUSD students have been lowered to just $10. This summer, swim lessons and day camps will cost $10 per week. City youth sports leagues including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and flag football are $10 per season. Scholarships are available for families needing assistance. Several programs, including non-contact youth boxing and summer camps at La Pintoresca and Washington Parks, are offered at no cost to participants, as will all activities at the La Pintoresca Teen Education Center, including a teen summer camp.
Further, the City’s youth internship program, Realizing Opportunities through Summer Employment (ROSE), now operates year round. ROSE provides Pasadena young people, ages 14 to 24, with an opportunity to complete a paid internship and gain experience and exposure to public and non-profit careers. The Youth Ambassador Program, now in its 21st year, provides job experience and training to local high school students. The Teen Center provides after school programming, enrichment classes and homework assistance to students age 12-18, and the After School Adventure Program operates at 11 PUSD locations.
Fitness and wellness classes for older adults have returned to the Jackie Robinson Community Center, including the popular line dancing and art classes. These classes are free of charge. Villa Parke Community Center is currently undergoing renovations with in-person classes scheduled to resume in late summer.
Exciting park renovation projects are underway and include: La Pintoresca Park, scheduled to reopen soon, featuring a new water play area, skate park, and renovated basketball court, children’s play area and rest rooms; Villa Parke Community Center will reopen later this summer with an expanded boxing room, fitness gym, pool area, and remodeled auditorium; a new park in the Playhouse District will open later this year; and Washington Park will receive a new community house and restroom in spring 2023. Further, work will begin in the fall on Brenner Park to upgrade basketball courts, add lighting, refresh the picnic shade structures, and walkway repairs.
“I am very proud to lead an exemplary group of park, recreation and community services professionals. They are passionate and care deeply for this community” said Harvey-Williams. For more information and to register for programs, please visit https://www.cityofpasadena.net/parks-and-rec/ or call 626-744-4386.