Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Navigate / search

Kids will love The Lost Egypt exhibit at the Franklin Institute

A few weeks ago, it was my daughter’s eighth birthday party. Family was here that weekend from out of town—it was the perfect time for us to all check out the new exhibit Lost Egypt at the Franklin Institute.

I was excited to have the opportunity to review this exhibit as my second grader loves science as a subject and both of my kids had been to the Franklin on summer camp trips and remembered the visits.

We walked into the exhibit and the kids immediately ran over to the replica of a life-size camel (see photo below) and climbed into the camel’s saddle for a photo.

From there we moved on to an interactive pottery puzzle, where my Kindergartner enjoyed piecing together the pottery, similar to how archaeologists reconstruct an object from broken pieces.

We learned that Egyptians worshipped a large number of gods and goddesses, and that each one was connected to an element of nature or human activity. Most of what we know about Egyptians comes from their tombs and burials. They believed that life continued after death, so they placed food, drink, clothing and other items in their tombs, where they were preserved for thousands of years. Fascinating!

My youngest was interested in learning about the different ceramic types—pot stand, bowl, etc. On a computer, my second grader explored items to pack for an archaeological dig. Fun!

Entering the dig area was pretty cool. Modeled after an archaeological field site in Egypt, this area explores the tools, techniques and technologies used at the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders site on the Giza Plateau. Stories from the archaeologists focus on life in the field, discoveries, and artifacts. Visitors are encouraged to find a site, identify material remains, and engage in scientific inquiry about the lives of the Pyramid Builders.

We learned that over 100 pyramids were built in Egypt; the biggest ones could take more than 20 years to complete. We enjoyed reviewing the steps to build a pyramid, with diagrams.

Most fascinating perhaps was viewing “Annie” the anonymous mummy and learning the history. A teenage girl’s body was found floating in the Nile; more than 2,000 years later, a researcher examined the mummy, discovering clues about her life and death. “Annie” was presented in an atmosphere of respect, and the kids were curious about her story from a scientific perspective.

The Lost Egypt runs through August 28th, so plan your visit today! https://www.fi.edu/lost-egypt

Interview with ROC United’s National Research Director

Due to the power of the National Restaurant Association, the federal tipped minimum wage has been frozen at $2.13 an hour since 1991. As a result, tipped restaurant workers — overwhelmingly women — use food stamps at double the rate of the rest of the nation’s workforce, and are three-times as likely to live in poverty.

A dismal 20 percent of restaurant jobs pay a living wage, and women, people of color, and immigrants are often excluded from these living-wage positions, as reported by Anya Sacharow (April 26, 2013), “Why Don’t More Foodies Care About Restaurant Workers?” Time.

Seventy percent of servers are women. Since a living wage is not guaranteed, and women are forced to depend on tips, they frequently have to put up with sexual harassment from customers, coworkers, and management. The EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with a rate five times higher than other industries. See more at: http://rocunited.org/one-fair-wage/#sthash.ETQZGHse.dpuf.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United’s mission is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s restaurant workforce. Teofilo Reyes, ROC’s National Research Director, said that in general, ROC sees a very high rate of wage and hour violations for immigrant workers — individuals not being paid overtime as high as 60 percent and individuals who are forced to work off the clock without pay, and work eight hours straight without a break, each in the 40 percent range.

“For immigrants who tend to work in the back of the house (kitchen) in major cities, there really is no such thing as a break. Even more broadly in the restaurant industry, the people who take breaks are the people who smoke and there is this unwritten acceptance of smoking as a way to take a break,” said Reyes.

Reyes acknowledged that ROC sees restaurant owners accumulating wealth while their employees are not paid a living wage — either the minimum wage or slightly higher depending on the local market. Nationally, the median wage for restaurant workers is $9.20 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are times when there are overtime violations when the minimum wage goes below the hourly rate or when employees are forced to work off the clock. “A lot of work is done off the clock — when they come into work before their shift starts and then they clock out at the end of their shift and then there is work required to do before they can leave. Overtime and minimum wage violations come from that,” he said.

With tipped workers, ROC sees a lot of tip shaving, “workers needing to provide a certain percentage of their tips to management so they are not allowed to retain their tips. That is where the greater wage and hour violations come from,” said Reyes.

A small group of restaurant owners bring workers over to the U.S. themselves. Some undocumented workers qualify as victims of human trafficking.

There are places that force people to come in and live at the restaurant — “workers accumulate a certain amount of debt to the restaurant to come to the U.S. and then have to pay that debt off to the restaurant. Many of these workers will sleep in housing paid for by the restaurant, and have to work around the clock,” said Reyes.

There is a much higher percentage of undocumented workers working in the industry but that would not necessarily qualify as victims of trafficking. Trafficked workers are “a very vulnerable population, if owners themselves have been involved in bringing them in or helping them pay their way to a trafficker to get them there. The workers have a debt they are required to pay; if they are not able to pay, their families at home might be liable to pay what the owners see as their debt,” he said. This does occur, but the majority are undocumented workers who don’t have documentation and might not speak out about bad working conditions and more common forms of exploitation. This is a different exploitation than the trafficking cases.

Reyes shared these national tiplines for reporting immigrant abuse: National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: 510-465-1984; an OSHA hotline: 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888 3737 888; National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. Unitedwedream.org is also a good resource.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2X ABC’s “Shark Tank” alum Rebecca Rescate to share her philosophy of entrepreneurship on Monday, October 19th

ENTREPRENEUR WORKS PRESENTS: REBECCA RESCATE – 2X ABC’s “SHARK TANK” ALUM REBECCA RESCATE TO SHARE HER JOURNEY AND PHILOSOPHY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 19TH

Presented by Entrepreneur Works & International House Philadelphia (IHP), with Sponsorship from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

For those who dream of finding a better balance by becoming an entrepreneur – or of pitching their business to the right investor, and getting their name out to millions of Americans overnight – Entrepreneur Works is presenting two-time ABC’s “Shark Tank” alum Rebecca Rescate speaking with aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs about her journey and philosophy of business ownership and work-life balance. A Bucks County-based mom of three, Ms. Rescate’s companies include CitiKitty and HoodiePillow – both of which she pitched to the “Sharks” – and her latest product, Top-Down Planner. The conversation will take place on Monday, October 19th, 2015 at International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street) from 7-9 PM. The event is open to the public, but advance registration is required ($20 general admission; $15 for students; free for International House members and residents).

The Entrepreneur Works Presents series features master entrepreneurs in a variety of fields speaking about their experiences starting a business and offering guidance to aspiring small business owners. After launching in July 2014 with renowned director and choreographer Debbie Allen on how to sustain a career in the arts, the Entrepreneur Works Presents series continues with serial entrepreneur Rebecca Rescate. This installment of the Entrepreneur Works Presents speaker series is sponsored by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, of which Ms. Rescate is an alumna.

Rebecca Rescate

Rebecca Rescate is a two-time alum of ABC’s “Shark Tank”, a serial entrepreneur, and a Bucks County-based mom of three. Ms. Rescate has started multiple companies since 2005, including CitiKitty, HoodiePillow, and her latest product, Top-Down Planner, a “success strategy tool that helps you painlessly organize your time and plan to reach any goal you have.” For more information on Ms. Rescate, please visit http://www.rebeccarescate.com/.

Entrepreneur Works

Entrepreneur Works is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating pathways of opportunity for hundreds of talented yet underserved Philadelphia-area entrepreneurs each year, with a focus on serving low-to-moderate income, minority, immigrant and women entrepreneurs. Our clients start and grow small businesses, create jobs for themselves and their neighbors, and strengthen the local economy. Since 1998 we’ve served over 4,300 clients, advanced more than 415 loans, and invested $1.4M into neighborhood businesses. Visit www.myentrepreneurworks.org to learn more.

International House Philadelphia

The Intercultural Leadership Series at International House Philadelphia is an ongoing project involving lectures, symposiums and live performances. The events aim at fostering discussion and offering insight on the competencies, behaviors and specific skills needed to be an effective leader in an intercultural environment. International House, http://ihousephilly.org/, provides a unique experience that encourages mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among all people. We house students and scholars from more than 75 countries around the world, including the U.S., at our award-winning facility in University City and we broaden the horizons of our residents and the Greater Philadelphia community by offering high-quality arts and cultural programs.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. In the Philadelphia region, the Community College of Philadelphia offers this educational experience to three cohorts of entrepreneurs each year. Rebecca Rescate is an alumna of 10,000 Small Businesses, and Goldman Sachs is a proud sponsor of Entrepreneur Works Presents: Rebecca Rescate. Learn more at www.ccp.edu/10KSB and https://www.10ksbapply.com/.

Gearing Up for Kindergarten

It was bittersweet to watch my five-year-old complete her homework packet for Kindergarten. She’s the baby and will remain so. Is she ready? You betcha! I’m preparing for the transition as well.

As we speed into August, I’m looking ahead to the school year for my two: marking teacher conferences on the calendar, reviewing what we need for the meetings and of course – uniform and school supply shopping.

It’s nice to be at this point (the kids will be at the same school in September) but it’s also a realization that our baby is growing up.

When my oldest started Kindergarten two years ago, it felt like such an accomplishment for her and myself. I’ll feel the same way when I drop the youngest off in September.

Do you have a child headed for Kindergarten? If the child is your “baby” or only child, it will be even more poignant. Just look back at how far you’ve come. You are past breast feeding, diapers, potty training—the early stages of life.

And it gets easier. What a transformation it is from five to seven years old! They learn to bathe themselves, take extra care in picking out outfits, clean up more around the house and can even make a small meal when hungry.

You’ll have to prepare your child for heading off to school—is their homework packet complete by the due date and have you reviewed sight words with them? You also may have to prepare yourself mentally for the “baby” or only child leaving for school.

This might not affect your situation but many moms will have more time during the day once they have a child in grammar school. It’s a good time to review your career stage and ponder: Should I return to work full time? Or work part time and line up after school activities for the kids? Continue the current business or start a new one?

What is best for your family’s financial situation, your career as well as your child’s growth? Talk it over with a spouse if you need to. You’re in this together, after all.

Remember to take lots of pictures and a video capturing their first day. It only happens once. Don’t forget to bring tissues because you may likely shed some tears. I know I will.

The Fight for a Higher Minimum Wage

The New York Times recently published a powerful opinion, Can We Finally Treat Food Workers Fairly? by Mark Bittman. He pointed out “how deficient our values are when it comes to the treatment of the lowest paid workers in our economy, the largest portion of whom are employed in the food chain.”

I take my kids for lunch at local fast food restaurants, on occasion – like many parents do. I’ve met or spoken with some parents who work in the industry, like you probably have. Mothers or fathers who work hard to support their families.

The Fight for $15 has become a successful labor movement in the country. Last month, the Los Angeles City Council set itself up to raise its minimum wage from its current level of $9 per hour to $15 per hour in 2020. While the bill faces a final vote, it’s expected to pass. This will be a major win for labor unions and liberal organizations.

Los Angeles followed Seattle and San Francisco in setting its minimum wage at $15 per hour. And last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would establish a “Wage Board” that allows him to determine whether workers in a set industry in New York deserve a higher minimum wage.

“Through the Wage Board, New York can set fast-food workers on a path out of poverty, ease the burden on taxpayers and create a new national standard,” Cuomo wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

Many restaurant owners are accumulating wealth at the expense of their employees. Unfortunately, many employees nationwide–especially immigrants–accept horrendous working conditions in restaurants for fear of losing their jobs. So they are paid less than the minimum wage, work overtime without additional compensation and forfeit a portion of their tips to chefs and owners.

Let’s hope other cities follow suit and workers continue the Fight for $15.

As Bittman wisely noted, “But if you run a business that’s dependent on labor at the poverty level or worse, and that business doesn’t work if you pay workers something approaching a living wage, it isn’t a viable business, from either the moral or practical point of view.”

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pay It Forward

On Thursday, I took my daughters to Stations of the Cross at a church in the Italian market area. My first grader is in CCD, and her teacher encouraged the kids to attend the Stations of the Cross service, so I took the kids.

Walking home after the service, I decided to treat them to dinner at an Italian restaurant near my daughter’s elementary school for an early pizza dinner. I ordered waters, a small pizza and mozzarella sticks since I had a salad made at home.

Our server brought out coloring books and the kids had fun coloring on the pages. I checked my phone for new emails. I took my youngest to the restroom, and then my older daughter soon followed. When we returned, I asked for the check and the waitress told me, “It’s taken care of. A man paid for it, one of our regular customers.”

I was surprised by this random act of kindness. I posted this on my Facebook page, and a friend commented “Pay it forward.”

It makes you think. As parents, we often race through our days. We focus on making sure our kids’ needs are met and they are doing well in school. We may have work pressure, long hours and face burnout or exhaustion.

A small gesture of kindness can really go a long way. It can lift someone’s spirits if they are feeling stressed. It’s important to ask ourselves, “How can I help my neighbor or fellow parent who I see struggling?”

“Pay it forward” has wide interpretations. If you are a successful businessman, it could be creating a scholarship at your alma mater. If you in an executive position, it could be creating jobs for your community. If you own a restaurant, you could invite your neighborhood out for a complimentary meal. Think big.

Think of your unique situation and how you can best “pay it forward” to help someone else or others out.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Raising The Federal Minimum Wage Key for Struggling Families

This holiday season, many Moms across the country find it hard to be festive when they are struggling to put meals on the table for their children or pay their utility bills.

A single mother of five may work long hours in a restaurant for meager pay and need assistance from a local food bank to help feed her kids. This is just one example of a low-wage worker who has not – like many other Americans – seen the “economic recovery” reported in the news media.

Between 2009 and 2012, 95 percent of the income gains have gone to the top one percent of earners. The majority of new jobs created have paid low wages, and many middle-income jobs have been eliminated. Middle-class families saw about 30 percent of their wealth disappear over the past decade, while the cost of goods and services they rely on steadily increase.

In the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

Raising the minimum wage nationwide would increase earnings for millions of workers, and boost businesses’ bottom lines nationwide. In fact, 25 million Americans would get a modest raise if Congress raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour—where it’s been held since 2007—to $10.10.

New research on the working poor in the US released by Oxfam America and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that despite the stereotype that low-wage workers are teenagers, 88 percent are not. The report shows that more than 35 percent of low-wage workers, or nine million of them, are parents. These six million mothers and three million father care for 15 million children, and these workers are the primary breadwinners in families that include spouses, aging parents, siblings, and other relatives.

Restaurants across the Philadelphia area continue to violate employee wage and tip laws – even following a multi-million dollar settlement by Chickie’s & Pete’s, the sports bar franchise.

In February, Chickie’s & Pete’s agreed to pay out about $8.5 million to compensate employees for failing to pay them minimum wage and improperly taking a portion of their tips, federal officials and the company announced.

Many restaurant owners think they can get away with stiffing their workers, and they often do. The industry-wide practice of not paying employees the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, not paying overtime for working more than 40 hours per week or taking a portion of their tips and distributing among owners or chefs is a violation of state and federal laws. It just stinks.

Perhaps the Chickie’s & Pete’s settlement will make restaurant owners reevaluate their employee compensation plans. It’s time for hard working Americans to be paid a higher minimum wage.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Encouraging Mom Friends

Sometimes an encouraging text or note can make someone else’s day.

Two weeks ago, a friend sent me a “You are doing a great job…” text and it brightened my day. It was especially nice to get that note over a weekend swamped with kid activities.

For many families, the weekends become a whirlwind of activities for their children: lessons, birthday parties, carnivals, festivals, etc. If you are a working parent, free time for yourself may be scarce or nonexistent. You may focus on your children’s interests and neglect your own hobbies or needs.

When was the last time you send a mom friend an uplifting note? It only takes a few minutes to send a text or email, and your pal will surely appreciate it.

Next time you find yourself spinning your wheels or tearing your hair out, take a moment to send a Mom friend complimenting her non-stop energy, well-mannered kids, or another aspect you’ve noticed about her.

Motherhood is a demanding job, regardless of if you are working full time, part time or stay-at-home.

Moms, support your fellow mom friends! Remember there are others out there who are facing the same challenges you are.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Sweetest Words

Back to school for my two girls. It has been a hectic week of drop-offs, pick-ups, client work, grocery shopping, homework review, and so forth. My first-grader started CCD yesterday after school. I am happy she is starting this program. It’s another activity to add to the schedule.

At a mailbox store yesterday, I joked with my four-year-old: “When I am older, you can help me out.”

She said the sweetest words to me an hour or so later: “Mom, I will love you when you are old.” This comment made me stop for a moment. It really touched me.

How often do you cruise through your day, rushing the kids out the door in the morning and racing to get them after school? Do you really listen to what they have to say or are you focused on getting them there and back on time?

Young kids can say profound statements. They will thank you for taking care of them. Try to slow down and listen to what they are trying to get across.

Life has its challenges such as job loss, a spouse’s illness, declining health of a parent… But when your child praises you for taking care of them, it lifts your spirit and carries you forward.

You want them to succeed, so you have to stay strong.

Stop comparing yourself to what your peers are doing on Facebook. It may appear as if your Facebook friends have perfect lives when you see photos of birthday parties, dinners out, lavish trips, etc.

One of my resolutions for the Fall? Spend less time on Facebook. Focus on my client projects and caring for my family.

What comments have your children said to you lately that have touched your heart? Later on in life when you are older, you’ll want to remember these small expressions of love from them.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Adjusting Kids to the Summer Schedule

Recently, I attended a blogger event in the city where I had the chance to catch up with some other Moms. One successful businesswoman and mother of three confided that it was often a challenge to get her kids out the door in the morning on time and without issues.

This seems to be a common work/life issue for Moms who drop their kids off to preschool or summer camp. The summertime can be especially challenging because kids are out of their routine of regular homework and earlier start times. Even if you are not having problems with getting the kids ready in the morning and out the door, it’s good to assess your situation.

Here are some ways you could save extra time:

  • Get them on the same bath schedule. I usually bathe my two at the same time. With the summer heat, one may want more baths than usual to cool down after a hot day. Try to get two in the tub at once.
  • Prepare lunch and snack schedules on Sunday. This is the perfect day to write out what you will need for the week. Many schools and camps offer pizza on certain days but the other days you have to pack lunches. What will you need each week for lunches, drinks and snacks? Mini store runs can eat up your time—try to do a bulk store run once a week.
  • Put them to bed at a reasonable time. During the summer, many kids want to stay up later and play outside if the weather is nice or watch TV. If the kids end up going to sleep too late, they will be overtired in the morning and you may have a tough time waking them up.
  • Know their schedule and what they need each day. Summertime means water play. How many of you have realized at 7pm that your kids need clean swimsuits and towels in the morning, so you had to do laundry immediately? Think ahead.

Everyone falls into their own routine as a parent. The above suggestions may help alleviate some bickering between siblings and your own stress over running late in the AM. Happy summer and stay cool!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net