posted on by

Why Summer Reading Matters + Our Events Schedule

IMG_20140607_103848For many, summer reading denotes leisure by the pool, at the beach, or on a plane. As avid readers, we’re all for that, but our involvement with summer reading stems from research about reading, education, and social class. A Johns Hopkins study found that middle and upper class kids maintain or improve their reading abilities over the summer, while low-income students actually lose reading skills, which becomes a significant problem when it happens repeatedly, summer after summer, during elementary school (Trelease).

We bought 400 books that were given to elementary school children in Hollywood, and along with the fabulous children’s librarian at the Goldwyn Library, Kim Woo, we are conducting 3 book talks for elementary school kids this summer (with snacks, of course!) There are two choices for chapter books (one younger elementary and one more advanced) Tuesdays @ 4:00
6/24 Masters of Disaster (Paulson) or Call It Courage (Sperry)
7/15 Chocolate Touch (Catling) or Graveyard Book (Gaiman)
8/5 Sideways Stories… (Sachar) or Bridge to Terebithia (Paterson). Join us!
IMG_20140607_103751
We’re also reading books and quoting them on our virtual booktalks – so please join us by tweeting your favorite quote #PRMbookchat (You can also write on our Facebook Wall or Instagram it if you aren’t on Twitter)
7/5 Love in the Time of Cholera- Garcia Marquez
8/1 Picture of Dorian Gray- Wilde
8/15 Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson

We look forward to sharing this summer of reading with you!
Anji

posted on by

Kellyn: Why I Volunteered With the Hollywood Arts Council

PR Marthas at the Spirit of Old Hollywood Benefit

PR Marthas at the Spirit of Old Hollywood Benefit

The Hollywood Arts Council hosted a incredible event to fund raise and provide more resources for schools all around Hollywood who have limited or no arts funds/programs. These awesome and giving people’s event in the old Hollywood spirit also welcomed new members to the wonderful Arts Council.

The Hollywood Arts Council provides resources for local elementary schools to keep supporting the wonderful arts. The HAC provides programs that may influence kids to become artists or simply help kids stay involved with different art programs, like as acting, dancing, theatre, and visual perspectives, as well.

This benefit was so amazing to give back to the community and provide everyone the advantages and privilege to express themselves in any artistic form. Going to a visual and performing arts school is so amazing, and volunteering to help other children in other schools have the same experience felt great! Everyone should have the wonders of being artistic !!!

–Kellyn, HS Senior

posted on by

Daisy’s Blog #1 Intro to the Marthas

daisyGreetings! My name is Daisy, currently a College Sophomore majoring in Communications Studies. But let me rewind to freshmen year in High School approximately 6 years ago. I was overly shy and lacked self-confidence. Thankfully, I was introduced to a club that made an enormous impact on my life and helped me blossom to the strong, confident, and passionate young lady I am today. My English teacher, Anji, had introduced her club to the school. At first I was very confused and hesitant to join. I did not know what to expect from a club titled “The Punk Rock Marthas” and I Definitely didn’t consider myself as “Punk Rock”. But the club was nothing like I ever expected it to be. Its main focus was to teach young High School teens like myself about the struggles of our communities and inspire us to make it a little better one Martha at a time. What better way than bringing this awareness through arts and crafts. My wonderful journey as a Martha made me realize that there is nothing more Punk Rock than serving our community, baking goodies, decorating crafts, and simply spreading genuine Martha love.

After being an active member of the Marthas for 4 years, I was honored the title of President of the club during my senior year. I couldn’t have asked for a better time and place for this experience that taught me important lessons of life. The club allowed me to build connections with my fellow youngsters. The shared desire of branching out to help our community is what brings the Marthas and its allies closer. We are not just an ordinary club; we are a family working together toward a better and brighter tomorrow. I discovered that generosity and giving back to one’s community is important in our world today. The journey was difficult but absolutely rewarding and worth it. At this point, the Marthas were widely known in school and in our community. Besides being involved with St. Francis Center, Project Angel Food, donating necessary goodies to the more needing in the community, and simply spreading Martha cheer around campus, the club was now involved in another level. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without our dedicated members, our lovely Martha supporters, and of course the beautiful mind and heart behind it all!

I am beyond proud of how hard the Marthas have worked and still continue to work today. It has been 6 years since the Marthas have been spreading kindness around the neighborhood and we hope to continue these kind acts around the world! Here’s to many more years of success! I would like to take a moment to congratulate the Marthas on their most recent accomplishments and I would also like to thank Anji, the Mother Martha of all. Without her kind heart, edgy creativity, and Punk Rock-ness, nothing would have been possible. You have inspired many of us in so many ways. We love you! I can’t wait to keep moving forward with this extraordinary club! Many exciting Martha events coming this Fall- stay tuned! We appreciate your time and we hope you are inspired to spread some genuine Martha love! Marthas unite, keep the love flowing!
Once a Martha, Always a Martha!
Much love, Daisy. XOXO <3

posted on by

Marthas Come Home for the Homeless

College PRMarthas & Chef Robert from Malo

College PRMarthas & Chef Robert from Malo

This week is like Homecoming for the Punk Rock Marthas. College students are in finals, on campuses both near and far, and high school students are studying for theirs… And yet something magical happens the few weeks before our annual holiday homeless service at St Francis Center: Love. This love takes the form of tubes of toothpaste, bags of new socks, blankets, hoodies, and even the most precious for students: cash. These are sent via PayPal, left on my porch, traded in a fleeting visit…

There are none as proportionately generous as those who have spent hours preparing meals, serving them, and then cleaning up (it’s the clean up that shows real dedication.) Our membership of high school students is in the triple digits, and the hours they are putting in to assemble toiletry kits and count out what we have and are lacking, especially with all of the other events we have going on + school work, is extremely admirable. Equally admirable are the college kids (in the double digits) who are called back of their own accord. It’s the loveliest feeling to know that these awesome kids truly understand and value serving their community, and we’re still going strong holiday season number 7!

Thanks to the community members who have reached out and helped. It’s been a great help to us! We still have a few days for you to drop off your blankets/toiletries for Saturday. Please email me if you’d like to contribute: anji@punkrockmarthas.com

Warmly,
Anji

posted on by

Blanket Drive for the Homeless!

This is our 7th holiday season volunteering at the Saint Francis Center in downtown LA. In addition to our meal service, we will be distributing toiletry kits (toothbrushes, toothpaste etc), new socks, and a blanket to each homeless diner.

We are collecting gently used or new blankets of any adult size from now until December 12th. If you are able to either start a collection or contribute, please contact Anji@PunkRockMarthas.com

Thank you for your support!
AnjiPRM_blankets

posted on by

Elliott Smith Art for Charity on Etsy

In case you haven’t heard of the awesome celebrations planned for Elliott Smith’s 44th birthday (http://terrorbird.com/blog/updated-line-ups-announced-no-name-1-celebration-life-and-music-elliott-smith-benefit-concerts) we’ve made a bunch of art on Etsy to help the wonderful causes his family has designated. Most of the art sold out right away but we are adding a few more things–  so keep an eye out: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PunkRockMarthas

 

posted on by

3 days of living on $1.50: Marthas take the challenge

Poverty is a cause that is closest to our hearts and the one for which we have volunteered the most hours. We have gone to St Francis Center in downtown Los Angeles to serve the homeless monthly (or more) for 5 years, and we’ve supported their other programs for near-homeless families living in extreme poverty in our own city.  So when we heard about living below the line, on $1.50 a day, we decided to do it for a few days, together, in solidarity—to remind ourselves why we do what we do.

We asked local restaurants to join our cause and cook 30 meals for $15 – enough for the 10 of us. Our idea was to keep it local—the LA version—and raise a little money for the charity with whom we work the most closely, St Francis Center.

Chefs Robert Luna from Malo and Minh Phan from Beachwood Café graciously stepped up to the plate, and we cooked for a day as well- making it a 3 day challenge.

Day one – Chef Robert bought all of the ingredients from the 99 Cents store. Breakfast was an egg, two tortillas, a little beans and rice and pico de gallo salsa. Lunch was a salad with a slice of hard boiled egg and some beans and rice. Dinner was a half ear of corn on the cob, beans & rice, and a cactus taco. If you’ve ever eaten at Malo, you’ll understand that Chef Robert is amazing—and his strategy of putting beans, rice and a some tortilla in every dish is exactly how many people not only in LA, but in Mexico and Central America deal with feeding their families with little money. He really kept the food delicious and healthy, but at fifty cents a meal, the portions were tiny.

The food was delicious, but like starting a diet, the first day was the absolute hardest. Breakfast was easy enough because we often skip it—but we just never got full the rest of the day. And we spent the whole day preoccupied with thoughts of food.  All of us went to bed hungry and woke up hungry—and that was the hardest part of all.

Day two—we had to cook for this one, and since we were hungry day one, the goal of day two was to have a lot of food, whatever it was. We went to the 99 Cents store and spent $15 strategizing on how to stretch our dough. We found a bag of 10 tangerines and were excited to stay healthy—until our low blood sugar got the best of us and we opted for the box of Cinnamon Pop Tarts instead (not enough money for both). We really understood why the homeless people we serve love dessert and also why the five poorest states in America are the five most obese.

Breakfast was a poptart, instant coffee(!!!) and oatmeal cooked the night before with extra water and strawberries and left in the fridge overnight (a tip from a YMCA trainer). The oatmeal absorbs all the water and is very filling.  Without protein, the carbs made us starving by lunch. Lunch was pasta salad made with fresh red beans, sautéed zucchini, cooked carrots, and canned tomatoes. Again, it was filling, but without more protein, we were on a blood sugar rollercoaster. Dinner was ramen, a boiled egg, a few frozen veggies and a little egg roll. Our food wasn’t nearly as tasty as Chef Robert’s, and we respected the ingenuity of both Chef Robert and Chef Minh for their ingenuity and ability to make tastier meals for 50 cents each.

Day three–  Chef Minh Phan is Vietnamese, so she opted to make rice congee (porridge) with sweet and savory condiments, which is very much aligned with how Asian countries deal with feeding a family with little money.  She made us each two containers of congee, one soupy and one thicker. She also looked up some monk recipes since they are used to eating without much money.  Savory condiments: molasses and black pepper braised tofu, pickled egg, turmeric pickled onions, sweet pickled jalapenos, scallion chili oil. Sweet condiments were loquats (from local trees) in holy basil syrup and brown sugar/candied ginger/coconut. Her strategy was to make a very simple, bland and inexpensive dish (rice congee) and let us make it flavorful with her ingenious and delicious accruements.

We were also very lucky to have our City Councilmember’s Tom LaBonge’s Deputy Sharon Shapiro show solidarity by joining us in eating on $1.50 for day 3.

Day 3 we all ate through the condiments first thing in the morning and were left  eating almost plain congee the rest of the day.  Wow! We loved how Chef Minh used leftover scallions for the chili oil—and picked loquats from a tree.  The food was delicious and we found that congee got us full, but once we were out of tofu and egg, the same sort of low blood sugar feeling would return. That was the same all three days.

Thank you to lovely and talented Minh Phan at Beachwood Café and the awesome and skilled Robert Luna at Malo for helping Sinnai, Angie, Debbie, Areli, Alejandro, Sonia, Ralph, Nina, Vianey, Danelly, Anji and the awesome Sharon Shapiro feel what so many people in this world feel daily: hunger, the return of hunger, the inability to concentrate because of hunger, sugar cravings from low blood sugar, caffeine withdrawals… but most of all, empathy. And community. And compassion. We made a little bit of money for the incredible St Francis Center, but more importantly, we strengthened our resolve to do more. And do more we shall!

posted on by

Why We Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor

We formed 5 years ago on a new high school campus in Hollywood, in Eric’s City Council District. At the time, we were building school spirit and doing community service. We grew, our projects grew, our mission grew, and Eric Garcetti has been supportive every step of the way. He has come on to high school campuses and participated in class discussions for years. If you don’t know the impact of a high five from your local City Councilmember to a high school student trying to do right, then it would be hard to explain why his enthusiasm has been so important to us.
Anybody who has watched Hollywood, Silverlake and Echo Park the past decade knows the benefit of Eric’s leadership first hand. He didn’t do it alone, and no one is claiming that he did– but he worked alongside a lot of people, and that is all the more impressive. We love both the Hollywood City Councilmembers– but only one is on the ballot for mayor.

We’ve continued to serve the homeless at least once a month for five years, not even in Eric’s District, but he can tell you about it. When we did various fundraisers or needed the a wall pressure washed for a pretty awesome origami mural, Eric always asked, “How can I help?” It shouldn’t be a big deal that local politicians keep a pulse on what’s going on in their districts, and it shouldn’t be a big deal that they are supportive—but it is a big deal. LA is the second largest city in America, and a small group of do-gooders may be good for your community, but they’re not going to dump six figures into your campaign to run commercials for you.

But we can canvass. And we can flashmob. And we can tell you how awesome Eric Garcetti is for his community. In fact, I think we just did.