Sam Xiang, a junior at Mark Keppel High School, volunteers at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Monterey Park every year. When he received a call from the Asian Youth Center to help raise awareness about electrical safety at the festival, he was excited to volunteer.
“It’s my passion,” he said. “I like to help others, and when I volunteer, I help others. It makes me happy.”
The 17th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Monterey Park each year, a city that boasts the largest population of Chinese Americans of any municipality in the U.S. The festival is a celebration of Japanese culture and offers a forum for learning, fun and support of the community.
“I think it’s a great event,” said Florence Lin, community relations manager at the Asian Youth Center. “You see a lot of community people participating at the various booths.”
This year, Southern California Edison (SCE) is teaming up with the city of Monterey Park and two local community organizations — the Asian Youth Center and Chinatown Service Center — to increase awareness about electrical safety and encourage residents to take the safety pledge. The first outreach event was the SCE electrical safety booth at the Cherry Blossom Festival.
"The Cherry Blossom Festival was an opportunity to share electrical safety messaging with the Monterey Park community,” said Marissa Castro-Salvati, region manager, SCE Local Public Affairs. “Like our partners, we are passionate about serving our communities and together we can help empower them to stay safe around electricity.”
Sina Ma, department supervisor at the Chinatown Service Center in the Monterey Park office, is no stranger to the Cherry Blossom Festival as she had hosted booths for the center in previous years. This was her first time helping out at SCE’s electrical safety booth.
“Most of the visitors are residents of Monterey Park and neighboring cities like Alhambra, San Gabriel and Rosemead,” she said. “In the communities we serve, there are a lot of limited English speakers, so it’s very helpful to have the materials in different languages.”
Several of the visitors to the SCE booth said they found the SCE Electrical Safety Starter Kit to be helpful. The kit provides tips on how to stay safe around electricity and emergency preparedness guides that are in English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Spanish. The kits also include a collapsible water bottle, downed power line magnet and flashlight.
During the two-day Cherry Blossom Festival, more than 300 people signed SCE’s Electrical Safety Pledge, where folks pledge to stay safe and help others stay safe around electricity. Some even showed off their safety pledges on Instagram.
“We had people coming out to our booth after seeing photos of people with their Electrical Safety Pledges on Instagram and thought it was awesome,” said Lin. “The word does get around.”
Lin believes the partnership with the Asian Youth Center and SCE is an opportunity to get to know each other’s organizations better.
“Talking to people and different crowds and emphasizing the importance of electrical safety was the best part about being part of SCE’s electrical safety booth,” said Lin. “People can see that SCE is concerned about their customers.”
Knowing what to do during an emergency is one of the greatest concerns for residents of Monterey Park, said Ma. She was glad that the Chinatown Service Center was able to help disseminate electrical safety awareness information to the community
She also learned something new: call 811 before starting any digging projects.
“My family does a lot of planting in the spring, and we never knew that we were supposed to call 811 first,” said Ma. “So I passed that information to my family so they would know too!”