The La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation consistently comes through for our public schools. This month, the LCUSD accepted a $2-million check from the foundation. “Foundation President Paul Murray noted it was a record amount for the organization, exceeding the donation for the previous school year by $900,000.” (Valley Sun, Feb. 9, “La Cañada Unified receives $2 million from foundation.”)

The money makes up the shortfall in public funds, and reduces class sizes, because our tax dollars do not go directly to our local schools. (See www.lcfef.org/what/)

Wondering how they do it? The foundation has succeeded in a down economy due to the commitment of its volunteers, direct donations and matching funds. Of equal import, the foundation puts on awesome events.

Case in point — there will be a private movie screening of “The Hunger Games” on March 26, with 100% of ticket sales going to the foundation.

“The Hunger Games” is a great choice. The film is based on Suzanne Collins' trilogy, published by Scholastic, the publisher of the Harry Potter books. The novels show signs of being equally popular.

I first heard about “The Hunger Games” last year from a 30-year-old vegetarian veterinary student. She said the book was better than the Harry Potter books.

I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading the first book. No spoilers here. I won't give the plot away.

“The Hunger Games” is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the U.S. is divided into 12 districts and a “capitol.” Each year, one boy and girl from each district are picked to fight to the death in a televised event. The winner receives honor and riches.

Not exactly your mama's Harry Potter.

Unlike Harry Potter, there are non-magical weapons.

Unlike Harry Potter, there's hand-to-hand combat.

Unlike Harry Potter, the hero is a teenage girl who sticks up for the underdog.

The author is the daughter of an Air Force officer. She says she was inspired not only by the myth of Theseus, but by watching television during the invasion of Iraq. Collins flipped the channels between cable news and a reality show until it all began to blur.

Presently, there are about 1.4 million active-duty military personnel in our country, and an equal number in the reserves. That's about 1% of those available for military service. The U.S. population is 313 million. Less than 1% of us have any connection to the military. Why are civilians fascinated with boot camp physical training, paintballing, “Survivor” and other forms of aggression? Is life a zero sum game?

The story resonates and the film will intrigue you. Come out to support our schools on March 26.

For more information, see www.lcfef.org or call the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation at (818) 952-4268.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at anitasusan.brenner@
yahoo.com
.