From the Desk of Amy Friedman
POPS the Club Executive Director and Co-Founder  
Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

When I think of you, that quotation comes to mind, because it is thoughtful and committed citizens like you who are helping change the world. This month we’re asking you once again to support POPS with a donation. No matter how large or small, each gift makes a difference .

Every week a teacher, a counselor, a city official or a teenager comes to us and asks what they can do to open a POPS club at their school. That's why we need your support!

Some of you were witness on June 1 to that magical transformation that is POPS the Club. That day 150 people gathered at the Actors Gang to help us launch our sixth anthology, WE GOT GAME. For those who weren’t able to be with us, we want to share some of the highlights of the POPS poets, storytellers, artists, singers, dancers and musicians who performed that day. 
I confess when twin brothers Caleb and Kylon Wade first took the stage to lead off the show with their powerful music, I knew I wanted to share their story, and their energy, with all of you. The Wade brothers just graduated from Venice High and are off to college this fall , but they’ve promised to remain part of this ever-expanding group of thoughtful citizens who will change the world. 

“We haven’t experienced the pain a lot of POPS kids have,” Caleb says, “so at first we weren’t sure we belonged.” Kylon nods. When Kylon came to POPS for the first time in 10 th grade, “I was ready to share my appetite for food but I had no appetite to share my inner thoughts....” “
Caleb interrupts. “But one of the best parts of POPS is the free choice, how you don’t have to share if you're not ready to…” “…True,” Kaylon agrees. 

The brothers' artistic and emotional connection is as palpable as is their love of performance. Caleb's first love is music, Kylon's acting. They lean into each other when they speak. “Our parents sing, and we sing in church,” Caleb says. With self-deprecating laughter, Kylon shows me a picture of “the adorable little twins we were when we were kids.”

Onstage, the Wade Brothers are magic, but beyond their talent, what shines through are their generous spirits. Caleb describes their connection to the pain of the prison system as emanating from their young cousin’s struggles. Her dad has been in and out of prison since she was a baby, and she has struggled. Their devotion and concern for her is evident, as is their desire to protect her privacy. “I came to POPS because I heard there was good food,” Kylon says, "but we both stayed because of the vibe.” Caleb adds, “Us and our little sister, Shia…. the people, the openness, the gratitude, the kindness... it’s a place you can go and feel what you’re feeling and no one judges you.”
“And we love creating…” Kylon says and he introduces me to the television show he’s been producing, and lets me know he’d love me to share it with others too: Tylon Productions, Part One .
Their goal, the boys say, is to use their creative talents to inject kindness and gratitude into the world. “Things that are too often missing.”

And they think there should be a POPS club in every school.  Kids need a safe space,” Caleb says, and Kylon adds, “and it helps everyone learn about other people's pain and how to be more empathetic…”

Caleb moves close to get in the last word—though he clearly knows that might be impossible. “ The thing about POPS is, in there you can break off those barriers that keep you from showing your talent… like the way Janna Rae makes that amazing art. “And Leahnora’s dancing,” Kylon adds, and Caleb says, “Yeah, and Alejandra’s photography, and Jessica's poetry...” 
“When those barriers go away, you’re free and you become more creative,” Kylon says. Caleb leans close to his brother. “And the volunteers like Marjorie and Amy--they have all this happy energy…”

I wish I could convey the musicality in their voices and the light in their eyes as they speak, but the Wade Brothers will continue to perform at POPS events and you’ll have a chance to see for yourself!
Bringing POPS into schools is a gift of light and love, supporting kids to feel safe enough to create, empowering community engagement and connection, but it's only possible because of your support. Today, please consider a donation (perhaps even a monthly gift!), explore other ways of giving, and/or purchasing a set of POPS anthologies for your local school or library! POPS has grown and the work has deepened over the last six years, and you have been a critical part of that growth. We are ever grateful to be sharing this journey with you.

With boundless gratitude,

Amy Friedman
Executive Director and Co-Founder
POPS the Club
Established in 2014, POPS the Club is a 501(3) with a "Silver Level of Transparency"
on Guidestar , EIN number 46-4535915. All donations are tax-deductible.
Curacao Business Center
1625 West Olympic Blvd
Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90015