City Pulse

By Amber Roniger

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As the dog days set in, we’ll do almost anything within our power to cool down our body temperature and wrest back control of our melting senses. At times the summer air’s simply too chaotic for words, we just need to run for cover. But all hope is not lost – common sense (and science) dictates that ingesting lots of cooling, healthy greens sets our body temperature plunging into the depths of sweet icy relief (or at least in that general direction). So fix the Lower Eastside Girls Club Annual East Village Farmers Market (girlsclub.org) on your suffocating-summer cool-down radar (Wednesdays 12-8). Featuring lots of fresh fruits and veggies, herbs, cider and eggs, Girls Club’s famous granola, muffins, cookies and salsas, smoothies made with their very own girl-powered bicycle smoothie blender: a spectacle surely worth playing hookey from the office to behold!!!

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The Girls Club is no ordinary after school depot for neighborhood kids to simply breeze by – in fact its existence predates the summer of love and the political turmoil of the 1960′s-70′s, when social devastation wracked the nation, hitting the Lower Eastside particularly hard. Most youth service agencies simply packed up and left – one of the few agencies to remain active was the Boys Club of New York… for boys only. But when the neighborhood began to rebound again in the 80′s, social groups began to return as well, but not for girls… unless they were pregnant or criminals. At long last, in 1996 a group of residents and community activists organized and began operating a girls-centered group and The Lower Eastside Girls Club was born – which now provides multiple and holistic services to over 300 neighborhood girls (and their families) aged 8-18. Their five-year plan focuses on building up the organization into a permanent, multi-service center for girls and women and providing a venue where LES girls can grow, learn, have fun and develop confidence.

So grab some greens and cook up a mess of ‘em, munch down on their Sweet Things, support their causes and don’t just make great sage purchases and stupendous meals, make a real difference to a local organization that has been there for the womenfolk of this diverse and historic neighborhood when no one else was. Volunteer your time by working as a tutor or mentor, help out on special occasions – like busy baking days and special events, or host a benefit cocktail party or fund-raiser on the girls’ behalf. Just keep on contributing and maintain the Lower Eastside as a family friendly neighborhood that holds in mind especially the needs of our girls as they grow into women and start leading the nation (ya-hoo!) in the right direction.

Lower Eastside Girls Club
www.girlsclub.org
Phone: (212) 982-1633

Farmer’s Market
Avenue C & 9th St.
(In front of La Plaza Cultural)
Wednesdays 12-8
July 11th – Mid-October

Sweet Things Bake Shop
136 Avenue C
www.girlsclub.org/programs/SweetThingsIntro.html
(212) 982-1714

Originally published July 2007
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