At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
The patter of gloves against heavy bags and the paced breathing of circling sparring partners fills The Boxing Club with energy. That's amplified by trainers, who lead classes in everything from cycling to kickboxing. There's muay thai, for example, an MMA fighting style that torches calories with flurries of flying elbows, knees, and fists, or jiu jitsu, which focuses more on grappling.
Martial arts are, in a way, just one more way of working towards physical fitness for many at the studio. Fitness goals are helped along by a full weight room, cardio area, and pilates studio. There's also a full locker room for cleaning up afterwards.
IBPF plans to publish a new reference manual, “Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder,” to help those diagnosed with bipolar disorder to cope with its effects. The reference book is also useful to the families and caregivers of those affected, with chapters written pro-bono by bipolar experts on understanding the illness, as well as various resources for treatment. IBPF plans to distribute the book to mental-health providers, city libraries, and universities across the country. However, the organization still needs $6,850 to meet its goal to publish 500 copies of the reference book at $13.70 each, including funds for binding, graphics, printing, and tabs.
The AjA Project’s semester-long Social Justice program guides student explorations of culture and identity, and promotes discussions of racial tension with the goal of preempting bullying and physical violence. Provided with photography training and the use of cameras, 100 young participants then create visual narratives that illustrate their own stories and reflect upon the problems facing their communities. Since 2000, the AjA Project's programs have helped more than 1,200 students to express themselves through photography, and displayed their narratives to more than one million viewers online and in galleries. The organization currently needs new digital cameras with basic accessories for students participating in the Social Justice program.