Marney Sobel-Abadian Expands Palisadian Programming Curriculum
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
When it comes to education and learning, there is never enough of a good thing.
Ever since she and her family moved to Pacific Palisades from Canada back in 2019, Marney Sobel-Abadian has put her 15 years of experience as a teacher to good use. Originally started as a book club at her home, “Marney’s Book Club” has grown beyond her expectations, with kids participating from Palisades Charter Elementary, Palisades Charter High, Corpus Christi, Calvary Christian, Crossroads, Brentwood, Marquez Charter Elementary, Canyon Charter Elementary, St. Matthew’s Parish and Paul Revere Charter Middle schools.
“I have more exciting news to share,” she reported. “Back in December, my goal was to have programs for younger children, and after a successful two-week summer camp in which I had 30 kids—18 more than last summer—I’ve decided it’s time to continue the growth.”
Sobel-Abadian has brought on board an “amazing educator,” Penny Milne, who moved to the area just one year ago from Sydney, Australia, with her family.
“She also has three similarly aged children like me, and our two boys have become like brothers,” Sobel-Abadian explained. “They’re living in the Palisades, and two of her boys go to Pali High and her youngest is at Paul Revere with my daughter.”
Sobel-Abadian and Milne first met socially, which Sobel-Abadian described as an “instant connection in so many ways,” including their shared love and passion for education and children.
“Penny spent the last 25 years teaching babies up to 6 year olds,” Sobel-Abadian added. “I’m expanding Marney’s to include the younger age group, which Penny will run.”
The expanded curriculum for younger students will include interactive story time, with complementary arts and crafts.
“As we know, kids are reading less and less, and I’ve always believed that if we expose them at a young age, they’ll have a love for books, which isn’t so common in our digital world, sadly,” Sobel-Abadian continued. “This nurturing program will set them up and help prepare them on their educational journey. Prior to each club, I tutor many of the kids in our area as well.”
Programs will commence the week of October 10 and run for six-week sessions.
“I have no doubt that this new addition to Marney’s will only bring our already incredible community even closer and more connected,” Sobel-Abadian added. “Our last summer camp was fantastic. Some of the activities were daily swim, art, science, tie dye and board games. We even had puppies come in for an hour to socialize with the children, educational scavenger hunts designed by an epidemiologist, baking and spa. It included daily snacks and nutritious lunches, all homemade by my team and I.”
During summer camp, Sobel-Abadian employed students from Pali High.
“There was an interview process, and I couldn’t have chosen a better bunch of teenagers,” she said. “They were hard working, charismatic, responsible and reliable.”
Following the book club, children continue with 45 minutes of other extracurricular activities led by a team that includes several dedicated women in the community like Kim Harrington (a Palisadian who is a yoga instructor for adults and kids); Kimberly Vandenberg (also a Palisadian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist swimmer); Daniella Hawkins (a UCLA swim instructor); and Hilary Vlastelica (an artist who creates projects for children and lives in the Palisades).
In a six-week session at Marney’s, kids get 90 minutes of book club as well as 45 minutes of either art, yoga or swimming at least twice.
“Being that I’m from Montreal, Quebec, and I’m fluent in French, a few parents from one of my clubs asked me if I can do a French program,” Sobel-Abadian continued. “I was working with Revere girls in sixth and seventh grade, and now have a class on Thursdays as well for fifth-graders.
“This next phase, Marney’s Garden, excites me, as Penny is the perfect addition to my brand and team. She’s a natural with the little ones and so talented in her field.”
Marney’s continues to grow, and many kids and adults around the Palisades can be seen wearing Marney’s hats, hoodies, shorts and T-shirts.
“Finally, on Tuesdays, I’m running a new third-grade book club for boys,” she added. “Following book club, my son Lucca, who is almost 18, is doing swim instruction, sports and Muay Thai with them.”
Marney’s husband, Max, is a fashion and celebrity photographer. They reside in Marquez Knolls with their three teenage children: sons Lucca and Val and daughter Roya.
“I’m planning to do more ‘Christmukkah’ bakes in December leading up to the holidays, and hope to have more schools and age groups participate,” Sobel-Abadian said of future programming. “I believe getting kids involved in helping those less fortunate teaches them empathy and gratitude. We need more of that in this world today.”
Sobel-Abadian reiterated what education means to her.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an A student or one that struggles, it’s about inspiring children to love learning,” she concluded. “My goal is to offer proven tips, techniques and real strategies that’ll help your child learn in an environment of unconditional support, encouragement and motivation.”
Sobel-Abadian can be found at her updated Instagram: @marney__s.
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