Our amazing local sponsors

by Divya on April 26, 2016

I remember being a kid and going to see a show or a play or some sporting event, and I always rolled my eyes when someone took the microphone and started the “thanks to our sponsors” bit.

But here’s the thing– Listen To Your Mother is very much a labor of love, and Jessica and I put together the show from scratch.  What started as she and I having a coffee last summer turned into a venue, a show date, rehearsal dates, a cast, rehearsals, and so much more (yes, programs, printing, a photographer, etc.) As we round the corner into the home stretch before our show on May 7th, we wanted to take a minute to acknowledge our local sponsors and thank them, because their support makes such a difference as we continue with our labor of love.

For me, the best part about contacting potential sponsors was the fact that I could reach out to so many amazing local small businesses, and in many cases, I could reach out to the business owner personally.  When you live and work in a close-knit community where small businesses know each other and play well in the sandbox together, the prospect of seeking sponsors becomes much less daunting than it would be under different circumstances.

Ula Cafe is a fantastic spot for coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, and all things delicious.  I had the pleasure of going to graduate school with one of its co-founders, and its opening coincided with the end of my first pregnancy, so let’s just say that I was thrilled to sample everything they had to offer!  A neighborhood favorite for meeting up with friends, Ula has become a cornerstone of JP.  Thanks, Korinn and Justin, for your yummy treats and big hearts!

For Boing! JP’s local toy shop, the motto “building community, one toy at a time” could not be more apt.  Here’s a vignette that illustrates the deep connection owner Kim Mitchell has to the JP community: Kim stocks doll “families” that are sold in boxes containing specific “family members”– a mom, dad, brother, sister, and grandparents.  Each box came with this specific family configuration and with dolls of the same color.  Recognizing the diversity of families in our neighborhood, Kim opened the boxes, put the dolls in a bowl all together, made a sign reading, “make your own family” and sold them individually.  Thanks, Kim, for your commitment to our community!

The Leggett Group is a group therapy practice in Roslindale, right next to JP.  Their highly skilled therapists and counselors work with individuals, couples, and families on a variety of behavioral health issues.  As someone who works with perinatal women going through massive life adjustments, I can’t underscore the importance of having such an exceptional behavioral health service right in our community.  I can’t tell you how many new moms I have spoken to who rave about the clinicians in this practice.  Thanks, Jen Erbe-Leggett, for taking care of all of us!

Mama & Me has been my home away from home for nearly 5 years.  It’s where I started doing postpartum support and new parents’ groups, and it’s where I dug myself out of my own postpartum funk and restarted my career.  Offering a wide range of prenatal, postpartum, and child development programs, Mama & Me’s unique parenting community brings folks together and is staffed by some truly wonderful professionals, many of whom are dear friends of mine (including cast member Rachel Hess!)  Thanks, Shannon Nelson Pope, for offering this space for so many families to come together, learn, speak honestly, and create community.

JP Knit& Stitch, JP’s yarn and fabric shop with a community soul, offers everything a creator’s heart could desire, including yarn, fabric, notions, as well as all sorts of classes and workshops on knitting, crocheting, sewing– you name it!  Owner Genevieve Day has created a shop where you can bring your project in and plunk down in a comfortable chair by the beautiful windows looking out onto Hyde Square and get lost in crafting for a bit.  Thanks, Genevieve, for reminding us to Be Inspired!

GrubStreet, a leading creative writing center, has always been a friend to Listen To Your Mother Boston and has publicized our auditions and shows.  Numerous past and present cast members have found their way to LTYM Boston via this unique resource for all types of writers of every genre, and we are thrilled to have their support at the sponsorship level this year.  Thank you, GrubStreet, for supporting writers in our city!

Fresh Copy is our local copy/print/scan/fax place.  Staffed by friendly folks who greet me by name (after all those years we didn’t have a printer, they got pretty familiar with me), they have been kind enough to offer support our show by printing our programs at a reduced fee.  Why go to a chain store when a local business can do this for you?  Thanks, Ren and Richard!

Finally, On Centre, a unique shop that stocks all sorts of fun and beautiful things such as bags, accessories, clothes, books, and gifts, is providing a trade sponsorship for our this year’s cast gifts.  This lovely spot is one of my favorite locales for browsing for a gift (we bought a “I heart you, JP” tote bag and a t-shirt with the Orange Line on it for friends who had moved out of JP) or fun new socks that say, “I am a badass” on them.  Thanks, Phil, for making Centre St a little more funky and interesting!

Thanks to all of you.  One of the many reasons I was excited about participating in LTYM Boston in this capacity this year was the idea of bringing the show into my neighborhood and sharing it with this community, and all of this is made easier by the support of these wonderful businesses who are supporting our show this year.  You can check out our sponsors’ table at the show and learn more about these folks and the work they do!

Tickets are selling fast!  Don’t forget to get yours here.

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We had our final rehearsal yesterday, and all of us were amazed, once again, by the power of this collection of stories.  Since our first rehearsal, Jessica and I adjusted the order, and the changes made a huge difference and created a much more fluid and well-flowing show.  Many of us had the pleasure of going out to lunch after our rehearsal, and we lingered for a couple hours and enjoyed chatting and learning more about each other.  What a wonderful day!  Here’s our last cast spotlight:

Judith_Rosenbaum_Headshot_020 copyJudith Rosenbaum is a historian, educator, and writer, as well as the Executive Director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, a national organization that documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change. A feminist from birth, Judith earned a PhD in American Studies from Brown University, with a focus on the history of women, gender, and social movements, and has taught Women’s and Gender Studies to high school students, college students, and adults. She writes for journals and blogs including Tablet, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and Kveller, as well as several anthologies, and is currently working (very slowly) on a book exploring contemporary redefinitions of the “Jewish mother.” Though she’s a city girl at heart, Judith now lives in Newton with her husband and their hilarious and high-spirited 9-year-old twins.

View More: http://amyemilyphotography.pass.us/ltym--bostonDivya Kumar
 survived growing up brown in Connecticut, tried to be a rock star, went to public health school, and carved a meandering career path to what she thinks are the best jobs in the world: running support groups for new parents and providing comprehensive perinatal support at a community health center as part of a state-funded postpartum depression prevention initiative that she helped create.  Irreverent and full of love, she brings a fresh voice, honesty, and humor to the madness of parenthood. Less of a writer and more of an “in-person person”, she creates community and brings people together with her relentless ability to tell it like it is. A cast member of the LTYM Boston 2015 show, she is beyond thrilled to read again this year and to co-direct and co-produce this year’s show.  She bakes delicious brownies and lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and two kids.  Connect with her at www.divyakumar.org.

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U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo M.Ed. B.A. is a multi-talented academic and creative sensation who is a multi-award winning international best-selling author and Top 10 charted soul singer. A native of Zimbabwe as well as having lived in Botswana and South Africa, U-Meleni is now based in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A with her husband and son. She has delivered several hundred high impact workshops taught through the mediums of poetry, the spoken word, music,film and theatre. U-Meleni is an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College in Boston. Her two degrees are from Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts and The University of Massachusetts Boston.

Her latest book, “Soul Psalms,” from She Writes Press publishers became an instant international best seller prior to its official launch. It will be out April 19, 2016 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. U-Meleni has been honoured with a host of awards over the years from esteemed organizations including; Roxbury Community College Teaching and Learning Center, The Binnacle, the literary and art magazine at The University of Maine at Machias, Boston Public Health Commission Adolescent Wellness Program, The National Society of Black Engineers, N.S.B.E., American Idol Underground and Live. Love.Fashion.

The acclaimed artist and ardent supporter of empowering teaching, artistic and sporting methods for over 16 years, has performed on some of the most prestigious stages in the world from Harvard University and Boston Opera House to The Museum of Fine Arts Boston and The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Scullers Jazz Club, Wally’s Jazz Club, Boston Center for the Arts, plus dozens more renowned venues including Africa University and Book Cafe in Zimbabwe, Horror Cafe in South Africa and Bogobiri in Nigeria.

On the sporting front, U-Meleni is a member of the National Black Marathoners’Association and is a respected 5K running mentor to young people in the Boston area. She and her husband raised $10,000 for cancer survivors at the Boston Marathon in 2012. Acting wise, U-Meleni has starred in a variety of films. She had a lead role in a T.V. series entitled, “Ya Ma’Afrika,” filmed in the United States and broadcast worldwide on TéléSud. Living a fascinating life as a wife, mother, educator, artist and athlete, U-Meleni is active with dozens of teaching, art and sports organizations in Boston. U-Meleni’s name means, “What are you waiting for,” in the African Ndebele-Zulu language. Her dream is to continue share her message on stages around the world. For more information, visit WWW.ABOUT.ME/UMELENI.

That’s our cast!  I am bursting with excitement about our show, and I promise that you don’t want to miss the chance to see these amazing women.  Stay tuned for updates and information about our fantastic local sponsors!  And get those tickets, people!  They are selling like hot cakes here!

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Cast spotlight: Sarah, Lynne, and Val

March 27, 2016

The weather this week has been cold, and we even had a ridiculous and unnecessary snow day!  But I see robin red-breasts everywhere, and I even saw some magnolias on the verge of blooming, so Spring (real Spring) must be around the corner.  We have been acquiring some local sponsors (more on that in a different post) and are thrilled about the hyper local aspect of this show.  Our second rehearsal is coming up next week, and we can’t wait to get everyone in one room again and do another read-through!  Here’s an introduction to another 3 folks in our fantastic cast: Sarah Sherman-Stokes is an immigration lawyer and law teacher, and novice-sometime-blogger at www.momspelledbackwards.com. By day, Sarah is a Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Boston University School of Law where she and her students represent immigrant children, refugees fleeing human rights abuses and detained noncitizens facing deportation. Sarah […]

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Jessica and I are still glowing after last weekend’s rehearsal.  We knew that we had a fantastic cast, but having everyone in one room reading their stories was an amazing experience.  We are so thrilled about this collection of voices and stories, and we cannot wait to share this show with you on May 7th.  Read on to hear more about our fabulous cast members! Rachel Hess is a California native and a 12 year transplant to Boston. She is a queer mommy of two, working to improve the lives of of her community as well as all new parents in the greater Boston area as a postpartum doula. Rachel is honored to share her story in this year’s Listen To Your Mother show. For the past 11 years, Rachel has been a volunteer for The Network/La Red, an organization dedicated to ending partner abuse.  Rachel has worked for ReadBoston, Samaritans, Isis Parenting, and currently runs […]

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