Seen on Sunday morning: June 8th

June 8, 2008 10:32:07 AM PDT
TRUTH ABOUT PLASTICS, DREAM INTERNSHIPS, GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK, SUMMER READING and ECO FRIENDLY CRAFTING-----TRUTH ABOUT PLASTICS-----

Many of the items around your home could pose a risk to your family and you may not even realize it.

Joining us this morning with the truth about plastics is Corey Powell-- the executive editor of Discover Magazine.

What are the dangers of plastic compounds?
Two common plastics compounds--bisphenol A and phthlatates--are known to disrupt human hormones and cause worrisome health problems in test animals. Tips on How to Avoid Exposure

How do we know if products around our home contain them?

Phthalates
- look for recycling code and avoid use of #3 when possible
- do not microwave food/beverages in plastic
- do not microwave or heat plastic cling wraps
- use alternatives to plastic packaging when possible
- buy phthalate-free toys or those approved by the European Union (the EU has placed a ban on using certain types of phthalates in children's toys)

Bisphenol A
- look for recycling code and avoid use of #7 (may or may not contain Bisphenol A) when possible
- if using hard polycarbonate plastics (nalgene/baby bottles/sippy cups), take precautions. Do not use for warm/hot liquids, discard old scratched bottles
- use safe alternatives such as glass or poly ethylene plastic
- choose canned foods from makers who don't use BPA (i.e. Eden foods)
- try to buy soups/milk/milk products in cardboard cartons

* These compounds leak out of many plastics, especially when plastics are heated.

* Baby bottles and children's toys are of particular concern, since they are both high sources of the worrisome compounds and children are particular susceptible to hormonal effects.

* Plastic is so ubiquitous that it is hard to get good scientific data on the real dangers.

* Not all plastics are equally dangerous, though; both scientists and legislators are now reaching consensus on which ones we should worry about and what we can do about them.

* Consumers have a lot of control, too. Some simple awareness about which plastics you use and how you use them could cut down a lot of the potential risk.

* The big lesson: we've added all kinds of chemicals to our environment without fully studying what they do. Science is only now catching up with what technology has been doing for the past 60 years.

Discover asked Sheela Sathyanarayana, a pediatrician at the Pediatric Environment Specialty Units at the University of Washington for tips on how to minimize risks from exposure to plastics. Here are the recommendations that her group shares with health-care providers:

To learn some alternatives to common plastic products, go to www.discovermagazine.com or www.iatp.org

-----DREAM INTERNSHIPS-----

It's a way to get experience for your future career--- in an environment that teaches you all you need to know, if you're willing to learn.

Internships can prove to be a valuable source for those in college or those looking to change careers.

Joining us this morning is Dwayne Ashley author of "Dream Internships" and president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College fund.

What inspired you to create a book on Dream Internships?
Employers have overwhelmingly told the Thurgood Marshall College Fund that internships are one of the only things that they look at when deciding which new college graduates to hire for full-time positions. Internships get students a foot in the door and gives them a glimpse of the office culture where they aspire to work. More than 85% of companies that offer internships use them as a recruitment tool, students can not afford not to intern. I wanted to relay this message to students how valuable and important it is to intern and add experience to their resumes.

How do students get their "dream internship"?
Your internship search begins when you start to identify what makes you tick, what excites you. If you have trouble identifying your strengths, consider taking an assessment such as Strongs Interest Inventory. Assessments don't tell you what to do but they can help you narrow the path.

For those seeking internships with no experience:

Get volunteer service in the area that you are considering a career. If the only area that you worked in is babysitting and you don't want to open your own day care center or teach elementary school, then explore volunteer opportunities in an area that match your interests.

For those with experience:

Spread the word. Tell everyone that you know of your search. Utilize your resources. Talk to Alumni of the university that you attend and friends. Your contacts need to be aware of two things:

You are looking for an internship What kind of internship you want Don't be afraid to pick up the phone. Call companies that you have an interest in. Even strangers want to contribute to someone's future.

Check search engines such as Monster.com, careerbuilders.com, blackenterprise.com, businessweek.com, diversityinc.com. These sites offer great leads on internships.

What advice can you give to students that need to develop resumes?
I always tell college students that recent graduates resumes should be one to two pages, max. Employers recognize that you don't have a lot of experience. Keep it simple.

In the book, you mentioned that people don't generally lose jobs because of hard skills but for soft skills. Can you elaborate on what soft skills are and why they are so important?
Soft skills are nonverbal and verbal cues. They are skills that we learn from our parents, teachers and peers such as you shouldn't interrupt people when they or speaking or you should not talk with your mouth full of food. Soft skills are those things that you are just supposed to know. Unlike hard skills which you learn on the job or in school, soft skills are acquired through life experiences or practice.

How would you advise an intern who needs to work on his or her soft skills the best approach in doing so?
A5-The best way for interns to expand their soft skills is to identify a mentor. A mentor can help an intern navigate through working in a corporate environment and coach them on what not to do.

With more and more companies adopting relaxed work environments, what can you offer to interns who don't really know what is appropriate to wear to work?
I think it's important that interns remember that they are marketing their own personal brand. In a work environment, you must always project a professional, business-like appearance. Keep it simple. If there is any question as to whether or not your attire is appropriate, it's best not to wear it. Males, slacks that are similar to Dockers or nice dress pants, and buttoned-down shirts are appropriate. Females, dresses and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable. Buttoned-down blouses and tops are acceptable. For all, jewelry should be minimal and in good taste. No visible tattoos or body piercing.

How can a intern stand out positively during their tenure at an internship?
Interns that are proactive and engaged tend to always do well. Integrity is high on the list, too. Meeting deadlines and being able to communicate effectively are always indicators of talent that is worthy of a future job offer.

You dedicate a chapter to graduating from intern to "in." Can you speak to what an intern should do as he or she completes an internship?
Interns should always meet with their supervisors individually at the end of their internship to get feedback on their performance. But, they must be receptive to constructive criticism. Use this opportunity as a resource to correct some wrongs and grow. Ask your supervisor what you did well and what areas of opportunities you need to build upon. And, don't forget to ask for a reference.

For more information, go to www.tmcfund.org

-----GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK-----

Birthday gifts, wedding gifts or anniversary presents, items you choose to purchase could also help our community.

Joining us this morning with some "gifts that give back" is Ericka Nelson, the general manager of 70 Park Avenue Hotel in New York City.

Kimpton, a company with over 40 boutique hotels across the country, that makes it very easy for guests to give back. They work closely with Dress for Success, The Trust for Public Land, and the Red Ribbon Campaign.

- All these great gifts that are not only fun and stylish, but support some inspiring non-profit organizations.

KimptonStyle Zebra Throw

- This cozy zebra throw blanket is perfect for the wild friend. It's available on KimptonStyle.com for $110, and all proceeds go directly to the Red Ribbon Campaign, raising awareness of HIV and AIDS and helping to find a cure.

- This blanket is made from 100% cotton, so it's soft and cuddly and no animals were harmed during the making. Something to Share Scarf

- For your fashionista friend - This stylish silk scarf was designed by Sean 'Diddy' Combs, and all the profits go directly to Dress for Success, a incredible organization dedicated to helping underprivileged women get back into the workforce by providing everything from suites to job training.

- To tie on the side of your bag (shown), wear around your neck, and it looks really chic tied around your hair in the summer.

- The scarf runs about $30

- The Y.E.S.! Chapter of Dress for Success will be holding a "Fresh, Fabulous, Fun" night of fashion and beauty on June 17th. The event will take place at US Concepts and tickets are $50. You can go to DressForSuccess.org for more information and to buy tickets.

KN Karen Neuburger Pajamas and Slippers

- These pajamas, by KN Karen Neuburger, run about $70, and proceeds go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They're decorated with pink ribbons to celebrate survivors of breast cancer, and not only are they stylish, but they're the softest pajamas ever - made exclusively with KN Cool pima cotton that keeps you cool while you sleep, perfect for hot summer nights! - Oprah even says KN Karen Neuburger pajamas are her favorite, and has them in every color.

Go Red Campaign

- Here we have a variety of gifts that support Go Red for Women, including this Barbie by Mattel - wearing a stylish little red gown. If you visit the site www.shopgored.org, you'll find a wide variety of gifts for daughters, like this barbie, to jewelry for the moms.

- "Go Red for Women" is an incredible organization that was founded by the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease and to increase awareness for the cause.

70 park avenue hotel & TPL - The Dirty Eco-Tini

- Throughout June and July, silverleaf tavern at 70 park avenue hotel will be offering the "Dirty Eco-tini" made with organic vodka, and all proceeds benefit The Trust for Public Land.

- This organization preserves New York parks and green spaces for city kids to enjoy, so you can take your friend out for drinks while supporting a worthwhile cause.

-----SUMMER READING-----

It's important this summer to keep your child's brain stimulated through reading. They want it to feel more like a treat than a chore.

Joining us this morning with some adventurous books are authors Jane O'Connor, Mac and Scott Westerfeld.

Jane O'Connor, "Fancy Nancy" - Ages Three to Eight

Turn "reading time" into "playtime" by having your youngster literally act out the pictures on the pages.

Read outdoors too. Take books with you to the beach, the park and the backyard so your child doesn't think of reading as strictly an indoor activity.

MAC, author of "Anna Smudge: Professional Shrink" - Ages Ten and Up

Make reading a social not solitary function. Host a Book Swap. Get all of the kids in your building or neighborhood together down in the lobby or the park. They can bring their books and trade with each other -like we used to with baseball cards or comics. Make it a regular event.

Scott Westerfeld, author of "Uglies" - Ages 12 and Up

Create a digital community. After your teen reads a book, go online with him or her to find a place to comment on it: a discussion group, the author's blog, MySpace. Or help him or her post a review at Amazon.com or B&N.com. And since all teens are texting these days anyway, get them to chat back and forth about their current reading choices.

For more information, click links below:

- Fancy Nancy website
- Anna Smudge website
- MAC's blog
- Scott Westerfeld's website

-----ECO FRIENDLY CRAFTING-----

Turning common items around your home into eco- friendly crafts your friends will love.

Joining us this morning with some ideas for plastic is Anda Lewis Corrie, an artist with Etsy--- a crafts company in Brooklyn.

Crafts:
Handbag
Bib jacket

Anda Lewis Corrie, Etsy is a 30 year old crafter and artist from Brooklyn who specializes in work made with recycled and repurposed materials is here to show demonstrate some funky projects you CAN do at home.

An underground "Indie" vibe has spurred a craft renaissance in the U.S., and crafting will never be the same. Over three-quarters of American households have at least one family member who spends an average of 7 hours weekly engaged in crafts or hobbies. But crafting is not only popular-it's cool now that Julia Roberts knits and a whole slew of celebrities, from Jennifer Aniston to Tony Bennett, paint. Crafting also provides emotional and health benefits. According to the Craft and Hobby Association, the crafting industry is $31 billion business. Do-It-Yourself projects have been embraced by people of all ages who seek authenticity and their own personal style.

Crafting allows budget minded shoppers to re-create the look of runway fashion, celebrity trends, and cultural influencers.

Green living has given a major boost to the trend, and has inspired a new generation of crafters. People are looking for fun ways to help save the environment, -- like taking old shopping bags and knitting them into rugs, and handbags.

Do It Yourself projects offer a gaggle of possibilities to get together with family and friends to re-create things around you.

If you're looking for ways to recycle of all those little things that accumulate around the house, turn them into an eco-friendly treasures. For example, did you ever consider the environmental impact of plastic shopping bags? The more we use plastic bags, the more we waste oil - a non-renewable energy source.

Petroleum-based plastic bags take decades to break down, so if they are not recycled they litter. It creates visual pollution: in the streets, on the beaches etc. Also, they can clog roadside drains, which could cause street flooding during heavy rainfall.

Plastic bags can be recycled but it rarely happens: according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 1% of plastic bags were recycled in 2000, against twenty percent for paper bags. They endanger wildlife and particularly sea life such as sea turtles and dolphins which can die of entanglement, suffocation, and ingestion because they assume that these bags are jellyfish.

For more information, visit www.etsy.com


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