Newsflash

Glassell Art Sale

For 22 straight years, the art sale and exhibition at the Glassell School has attracted hundreds of art-savvy Houstonians who  come to browse and buy work by students of the school.

This year the much-anticipated, annual Studio School Art Sale and Exhibition at the MFAH Glassell School of Art, 5101 Montrose Blvd., will take place over Memorial Day weekend. 

The annual, juried exhibition, located on the first floor of the Glassell School, features a showcase of the best Studio School student works from the 2010-2011 school year. 

This year’s show honors Suzanne Manns, the long-time Glassell School faculty chair who is retiring. A variety of artworks from the diverse student body, including pieces by students featured in the exhibition, will be on sale upstairs in a fast-moving, “sample sale” environment.  

The exhibition and sale opens to the public Friday evening, May 27, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and continues throughout the day on Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MFAH Art Crowd members have the first opportunity to buy works of art at a private party on Thursday, May 26, from 7 to 9 p.m.

 “The Studio Art Sale at the Glassell School provides a wonderful opportunity for people to buy high quality artwork at affordable prices. We hope young professionals and other burgeoning collectors will explore the sale,” said Joseph Havel, director of the Glassell School of Art. “The public is also invited to view the finest examples of Studio school work on view in the annual exhibition, which this year honors Suzanne Manns and the great impact she has had on the school.” 

More than 1,000 works of art in two- and three-dimensional media are typically for sale, ranging from $5 to $500. Sale items include ceramics, jewelry, prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and sculpture. A generous 75 percent of the proceeds go directly to the artists, while the other 25 percent funds future Glassell School of Art scholarships.  

The Studio School exhibition is juried by Suzanne Manns with Glassell instructors Charlotte Cosgrove and Ken Mazzu. This year’s exhibition honors Manns, who has been the Glassell School faculty chair for the last decade and who is retiring from the position to return to the faculty and focus on her teaching and artistic practice. Manns has been instrumental in developing the St. Thomas program (in which St Thomas undergraduate students can earn college credits at the Glassell School), including developing the curriculum for the BFA degree. She also strengthened the broader Glassell Studio school curriculum by adding an innovative summer workshop program. Manns will next head the works on paper department of the Glassell School of Art. 

MFAH Art Crowd members receive free admission; guests may enter for $25 per person. The entry fee includes admission, drinks and light bites. 

To RSVP as an Art Crowd member, become an Art Crowd member or purchase a guest ticket, call 713- 639-7551. Advance tickets and reservations to this event are strongly recommended.

Avoiding Mommy Trap

Jack and Jill met at work and fell in love. They both were earning mid-five-figure salaries and on a fast track to advance with the company. Jill married Jack. The following year Jill got pregnant, and within two years they had two children. Jack agreed with Jill that she should stay at home and raise their children. Three years later Jack left Jill. Jack and Jill no longer went up the hill together. Jill became a single mother with no savings, no child support and no career and her life came tumbling down.

I call this the Jack and Jill Syndrome. More than five million divorced, single-mother families live in the U.S. today according to the Census Bureau’s 2010 Popu-lation Survey. Over half of these mothers receive no child support. Although greater than three-quarters of single-mothers work, they and millions of children, as well, are living at or below the poverty level. A single-mother’s money woes are actually a double whammy because she has to support herself and her children. This profoundly impacts our children, who are among the most vulnerable.The Jills of the world, regardless of whether they are educated and formerly held good jobs or are high school drop-outs, all suffer from society’s prevailing view that raising children is not a valued occupation that carries with it an economic benefit. So, what’s a Jill to do?

As a lawyer who has handled matrimonial matters (not by choice but as an accommodation to corporate clients) and prepared prenuptial agreements, it dawned on me women could benefit from the protection afforded by an agreement signed before marriage that was devised to avert the Jack and Jill outcome.

A little background might be helpful here to put prenuptial agreements in context. Historically, marriages were arranged by families who wanted to protect their inherited property that was handed down from generation to generation to the first son. The romantic notion of marriage is a relatively contemporary phenomenon which has interjected a seemingly disparate ingredient (love) that complicates the ability to reach an agreement. It is no wonder that women try to avoid any discussion of an arrangement that involves love, children, money and property concurrently. But, that is exactly what they must do if they want to preserve their well-being and that of their future children.

I believe a newly fashioned “family-prenup” that includes compensating mothers who raise the couple’s children and take care of the home and apportions the cost of providing for their children until they are 18 would produce an equitable solution.  

Three primary subjects need to be settled and documented to start the ball rolling:

Discuss money, property and children. Mothers need to encourage their daughters to initiate a serious discussion with their future husbands prior to the marriage and urge them to resolve all of the important money, property and child rearing issues — culminating in a signed agreement — before they walk down the aisle. Once the romance fades all of a bride’s leverage evaporates.

Thrash out every “what if” about raising children. A young couple just starting out is inclined to discount the importance of talking about “what ifs” involving children that they may have someday in the future. This, more times than not, is a fatal mistake, evidenced by the staggering number of single mothers who are the sole providers for their children. The future bride and groom should make a list of all the “child issues” and reach an agreement as to how the costs and household duties should be shared.

Advance the concept of “One Financial Pot” with shared money management. Money matters are one of the thorniest topics for couples to discuss, but it is much easier to talk about finances when you are young, in lust, have few assets and are both working. This is the only time this discussion has a possibility of leading to a satisfactory arrangement. After marriage, especially when you are pregnant and planning to be a stay-at-home mother, it’s too late! So, open up a conversation about sharing everything and putting it in a collective pot. If you are good at handling money, as many women are, suggest you be the partner to pay the bills. If not, work out an understanding where you share money management responsibilities.

So, what happens if your  intended refuses to talk about these matters? Here comes the moment of truth. Knowing what you already know about the large percentage of divorced, single-mothers who are living at or below poverty level, will you back down and leave these matters unsettled just to avoid an argument? If your answer is “yes,” you are likely to end up as one more Jill, who tumbled down the hill and became a new casualty of the Jack and Jill Syndrome.

Susan T. Spencer is the author of “Briefcase Essentials: Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace.” She is the only woman who was general manager of an NFL team and an entrepreneur who successfully navigated the male-dominated world of meat processing.

10,000 Small Businesses

Houston has been selected to join the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. The initiative, already in place in several other cities, comes with a $20 million commitment to provide loans to help local small businesses and $5 million in program and capacity-building grants to local partner organizations. Additional grants will be provided to subsidize business education for current small business owners. 

“Small businesses play a vital role in job creation for our city’s economy,” said Mayor Annise Parker.  “However, due to the lack of a support network, they often struggle more than their larger competitors and lose out on opportunities to grow and create more jobs.  The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will have a real effect on the owners of these businesses, the working Houstonians whose liveli- hoods depend on them and our overall economy.  It can help keep more local dollars here.”

Mayor Parker is convening a number of local organizations to manage the program in Houston. Houston Community College will provide business basics at the classroom level, and the Greater Houston Partnership will help facilitate access to lending. The University of Houston Small Business Development Center Network will provide technical assistance to small business owners applying for loans and will be the key organization to package financial assistance.

The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Houston Minority Supplier Development Council will host clinics focusing on the most pressing economic development issues. 

“Houston plays a vital economic role in the United States,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “At its heart is a community of thousands of small business owners who, through 10,000 Small Businesses, will be able to access new resources from local and national experts to help them grow.”

Business and Management Education. Small business owners will have access to a practical business education developed in partnership with Babson College, one of the nation’s leading schools for entrepreneurs, and delivered by HCC. Small business owners will develop a business growth plan to help them increase revenues and hire new employees. Classes are free to business owners accepted through a competitive application process. Applications are currently available online. Classes begin on May 13.

Access to Capital. Goldman Sachs is committing $20 million of lending capital to Houston area small businesses. The loans will be managed and distributed by regional and national Community Development Financial Institution loan funds. These CDFIs will partner with local organizations to award the loans and build future lending capacity in Houston. CDFI loan funds provide loans and technical assistance to businesses that often cannot access traditional sources of capital and are partners in 10,000 Small Businesses nationwide. 

Business Support Services. Business advice, technical assistance and networking will be offered to participating small business owners through partnerships with the community colleges and national and local business organizations, as well as the people of Goldman Sachs.

Businesses interested in the business portion of the program can go online and apply at: www.hccs.edu/10KSB.

Caregiver's Life List

Being a caregiver can be one of the most challenging, complicated and rewarding jobs you’ll ever do. It is detail-oriented, physically and emotionally taxing and can require lightning-fast decision making that could affect the outcome of a person’s recovery. 

Nobody understands this more than Joni Aldrich. In 2004, the author and speaker became the primary caregiver for her husband, Gordon, when he was diagnosed with cancer. She spent two years learning the intricacies, trials and triumphs of being a caregiver. Most recently, Aldrich was faced with being the primary caregiver for her mother, who was battling lung cancer. It was those two experiences that compelled Aldrich to want to share her knowledge with other caregivers out there who may be looking for answers like she was so many years ago.

“As the primary caregiver for my 84-year-old mother with lung cancer, a recent morning started out pretty normal,” said Aldrich, author of the newly released Connecting through Compassion: Guidance for Family and Friends of a Brain Cancer Patient.

“Coffee, breakfast, medicine —all standard stuff. Minutes later, she told me her mouth, tongue and throat were numb, and she was having trouble swallowing. It became apparent that she was having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic she’d been taking. I ran for the Benadryl. And because I had some within reach, a possible catastrophe was averted.” Aldrich said. “Many caregivers don’t realize how having a few basic tools on hand can not only make their jobs easier but could also end up being lifesaving for their patients.”

If you’re a caregiver looking for a little advice, read on for the 10 items Aldrich says are must-haves for any caregiver kit:

• Pill organizer. Caregiving is a very detail-oriented job. And, for the most part, getting those details right can mean the difference between sickness and health and, at times, even life and death. With all the different medications, doses and timing involved, it can be a difficult task to keep it all organized. Use one that has slots for every day of the week and different times for each day. She says that most caregivers will fill their pill organizers ahead of time, so there’s also the added benefit of reminding you ahead of time to call the pharmacy for a refill without any confusion or lapse of medication.

• List of all medications. When you are responsible for the full-time care of a patient, it is imperative that you keep a list of all medications and their dosage information with you at all times. Make a point to update it on a regular basis, and take a current copy with you to every doctor’s appointment. You never know when the patient might need to have emergency medical care. Keep a copy in every possible place where you may need it at a moment’s notice (or in case you leave the house without it by mistake) like your purse, coat pockets and vehicles. Tack a copy by the telephone and the patient’s bed for easy access, as well. Share patient medications only with medical professionals, hospice nurses and in-home care providers — and only on a need-to-know basis.

• Good pill cutter. Depending on the prescription, you may have to cut pills in halves or quarters to get the right dosage, and a pill cutter is the safest and most consistent way to do that.

• Over-the-counter oral antihistamine. While treatment at home is not enough in the cases of severe allergic reactions, mild symptoms usually respond to non-prescription allergy medications. An oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), is a great drug to stock in your medicine cabinet. A liquid or “fast-melt” type of Benadryl can be better than pills, especially if the patient is having a reaction in their mouth or is experiencing some stomach upset. 

• Latex or non-latex gloves. Gloves are necessary to protect both the patient and the caregiver from harmful germs, and they can be used for protection in a variety of situations — from serving food to cleaning up messes. Choose the size that fits you and keep a supply handy at all times.

• Hydrogen peroxide. It’s a fairly well-known fact that peroxide is good for cleaning wounds. It’s also good for getting bloodstains out of clothing and bedding. You can soak a toothbrush in peroxide to kill germs and viruses. It can also be used like a mouthwash to help patients suffering from mouth sores. 

• Rubbing alcohol. While it’s also a great wound sterilizer, rubbing alcohol is also a good cleaning agent. Use a cloth with alcohol to sterilize handrails and doorknobs — especially if someone in the house is sick. Rub lightly over phones and keyboards to clean and prevent the spread of oh-so-many germs that gather on multi-user electronic devices (being careful not to soak and ruin the components). And while it’s not as easy on the nose as some cleaners, rubbing alcohol can also make faucets and sinks shiny and germ-free.

• Digital thermometer. Digital thermometers are fast, accurate, user-friendly and easy to read. Monitoring a patient’s temperature is important for keeping her  infection-free and comfortable. Have several on hand in the event one doesn’t work, you are unsure of a reading, or you can’t find one in the middle of the night. Plastic covers are an important add-on so that germs don’t get spread from patient to patient.

• Blood pressure monitor. Look for the fully automatic version that measures blood pressure correctly on the upper arm at heart level. The readings are given on a digital display and can be stored in the monitor’s memory. If you’re unsure about the type or brand that is best, ask your pharmacist. And, for a more accurate reading, have the patient rest for five minutes before taking his blood pressure, and ask him to sit up straight with his feet flat on the floor.

• Plenty of paperwork. You’ll need to have a calendar for organizing appointments, medical tests and a schedule of care-giving help. Keep a three-ring binder for storing medical test results in one cohesive place; patient notes are critical for doctor’s visits, particularly when there are multiple caregivers. Have all pertinent phone numbers posted near every phone. 

“While being a caregiver is one of the most challenging experiences of my life, it has also been one of the most rewarding,” Aldrich said. “Having the support of others who have been there can be a huge help. Do your research, plan ahead, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The peace of mind you’ll get from being prepared is one of the most precious gifts you can give yourself as a caregiver.”

Girl Scouts nearly 100

convention2011-B-smThe Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council will kick off the 2012 centennial year of Girl Scouts by hosting the organization’s national convention here in Houston. The big event will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, and an estimated 25,000 girls and adults are expected to attend.

Other celebrations throughout the 2012 centennial year will include the release of a commemorative coin, a sing-along on the Mall in Washington, D.C., a float in the Rose Parade and a nationwide Take Action project called Forever Green. 

Serving 76,000 girls with 18,000 volunteers in a 26-county area, the GSSJC is now the largest Girl Scout council in the United States. It is committed to giving every Girl Scout the chance to discover the leader she can be through a variety of activities and programs. It's no surprise that many of Houston's most successful women and many in key leadership roles were once Girl Scouts themselves. Leadership is one of the key lessons Rosi Hernandez, vice president of corporate partnerships for the Houston Astros, took away from her years as a Girl Scout growing up in Puerto Rico. According to Hernandez, learning real survival skills at camp was a great experience for a Catholic school girl who grew up in a comfortable environment.

In high school, Hernandez earned the Gold Award, Girl Scouts' highest honor, for a project she developed to promote tourism in Puerto Rico. 

“It was really something that stood out on my resume and my college application,” says Hernandez, who now holds a master's degree in public relations and marketing.

She has served on the GSSJC Board of Directors since 2005 and is committed to advancing the Gold Award Program as the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award  so many male CEOs of U.S. companies earned in their Boy Scout days. In addition to leadership, Girl Scouting helps develop character, confidence, self-esteem, community awareness and the strength to remain “above the fray” and resistant to peer pressures, Hernandez said. Entrepreneurship is another key lesson, she adds, admitting she was “ridiculously competitive” when it came to cookie sales. 

Houston native Gloria Vittone Echeverria, now working toward her Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology at Baylor College of Medicine, also earned the Gold Award while attending Langham Creek High School.  Her project was the development of an audio cassette  library chronicling the interesting life stories of people in her community.  

Girl Scouts — especially the Gold Award projects — gives girls the confidence to tackle a large project, break it into manageable steps, and see it through to the end, she said. Today, she continues to give back to scouting through a committee called Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics which is composed of professionals who develop programs for girls, such as You Be the Scientist. There, girls get to snap on rubber gloves and work with lab equipment and mentors who show them how to test and evaluate a scientific hypothesis. More importantly, they learn science is fun and accessible, Echeverria said. 

“It’s nice for the girls to have a young adult role model to look up to — not an old man with a beard and a scary lab coat,” Echeverria continued. 

Another active STEM volunteer is Vicki Freeman, Ph.D., chair and teaching professor in Clinical Laboratory Sciences at The University of Texas Medical Branch. She was a Girl Scout throughout her formative years, but also a campus Girl Scout when she went to college. Later on she became a troop mother/helper when her oldest daughter joined the Brownies. The family even participated in Girl Guides in the UK when her husband was assigned to a British Air Force Base. It was when she came to Texas that Freeman read about the correlation between girls’ math and science scores and their self-esteem in middle school.

“It’s not cool to like science and math at that age, so girls back away from it,” she said. “STEM helps encourage them to believe they can do math and science and shows them that there are careers that use those skills.” 

Today, both of Freeman’s daughters, Wendy and Dawn, are grown, having both attained Gold Awards as Girl Scouts and now employed in fields requiring a strong math and science acumen.

Marguerite Woung-Chapman, El Paso Corporation's vice president, secretary, and chief governance officer at El Paso Corporation, has served on the board of GSSJC since 2008. Although she was not a Girl Scout as a child, she became a volunteer in her daughter’s troop, and later became an adult member herself. Girl Scouts helped create a bridge between her daughter and herself and opened up a meaningful dialogue between them, she said. 

“There is a misperception that scouting is all about camping and crafts, but it’s more than that," she said. “Girl Scouting creates an environment that enables girls to become leaders. They gain a real awareness of their community and then, as young adults, they are motivated to go out and serve their community’s needs.” 

Woung-Chapman says Houston is the perfect place to begin the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary festivities. 

“It’s a great honor for the San Jacinto Council to be selected as the host, but I think it also says a lot about Houston. Our population really represents the face of America’s future. Houston is the perfect microcosm of what the next 100 years of Girl Scouts is going to look like,” she said.

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