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Devon, Health Education Initatives Coordinator

By UCR Jobs


Every year, since I was a child, I have looked forward to November and December’s holiday season.  It has always been a time to celebrate family for me.  It starts in mid-November with my dad’s birthday, the celebrating gains momentum at Thanksgiving, then my youngest son’s birthday, my sister’s birthday, my own birthday, and finally, Christmas.  With so much celebration in 2 short months, it’s no wonder I always look forward to this time of year.  Also, with so many birthdays and holidays in November and December, I have to try hard not to make the season about gift-buying and crowded shopping malls, and keep the focus on what’s really important to me: my family. 

As a kid, these months were always such a magical time, and I know I’m lucky to have parents who worked hard to make it that way for me and my sister.  We would always put out milk and cookies for Santa, a carrot for the reindeer, and opened gifts first thing Christmas morning.  My dad always had a fire going in the fireplace when we woke up, so I know he must have woken up extra early to do that, because us kids woke up early!  Another highlight of the holidays for me, as a child, was always putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. 

Now that I have kids of my own, ages 3 and 5 years old, I love having them help get ready for the holidays, and seeing their excitement as we put a tree in the living room and cover it with lights, or hang up stockings.  Being a parent has definitely helped me recapture some of that holiday magic that I was so accustomed to as a kid. We’re continuing the traditions I grew up with, and adding a few from my husband as well.  And of course, we get up super early on Christmas morning to open presents.    

As a UCR student, back in 1997-2001, I also looked forward to the holidays, partly because it meant finals were over and I was one quarter closer to graduation.  This is my first holiday season as a UCR staff member, as I started working here in January.  I look forward to time spent with students and co-workers that I’ve come to know in my 11 months on campus, and I’m thankful I work at a place that values spending time with family, and gives its employees the time to do so.

 Devon Sakamoto, MPH
Coordinator, Health Education Initiatives


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