The church wished to make a gift to the city to commemorate its centennial. The rector, George Regas, decided to commission a parishioner and educator, Denise H. Wood, to research the quality of life of city residents and produce a report.
Wood spent nine months poring over studies and interviewing more than 100 Pasadena residents representing the demographic diversity of every segment of the community. The resulting report, Experiencing Pasadena: The Needs, Promises and Tasks of an American City, was published by All Saints Church in 1984.
The report revealed that while Pasadena was rich with resources, many residents faced numerous challenges: poverty, hunger, homelessness, insufficient housing, inadequate health care, substance abuse, domestic violence, and employment inequities. Some efforts to address these issues were showing success, however heroic individuals and agencies often worked in relative isolation, undercutting the effectiveness of their activities.
Two imperatives were also identified and held up as crucial to the well-being of our city: 1) Pasadena must not be allowed to be a polarized city, one part poor and one part affluent, with an inequitable distribution of resources; and 2) the quality of life of all of Pasadena's young people must command our highest concern.
In response to the report, the Vestry of All Saints Church voted to establish the Office for Creative Connections as an ongoing gift to the city of Pasadena. Its role would be to serve as a facilitator, identifying needs, assets and opportunities, assessing barriers and bringing people together to work on creative solutions.
From its inception, the primary focus of OCC has been on issues affecting children, youth and families. Using the OCC Method of listening, discerning, reporting and connecting, it has addressed health care, the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, youth violence and after school activities, and structural racism.
For information on organizations incubated by OCC, see the OCC Programs and Projects page.
In May, 2010, Lorna Miller retired as director of OCC after 25 years, and Juliana Serrano became the new director.