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New York

The Uncommon Life

Opportunity Network

November 3, 2010

The Opportunity Network works to equal the playing field for high-achieving, low-income high school students by creating access for them to career opportunities, professional networks and college. They believe influential networks are essential ingredients for success not emphasized in career development programs for youth, so they take an innovative approach by underscoring the power of personal connections and professional relationships as vital complements to skills and experience. Through unique interaction with executives, intensive college counseling, networking training, coursework in careers, and paid internships, their students dramatically change the course of their futures.

Here’s what Seneca Iscove, UncommonGoods customer service supervisor, has to say:

When I was first introduced to The Opportunity Network, I selfishly wondered, “Where the heck were you people when I needed you?” I wish that there had been a place that I could go to that would not only help me with the daunting and sometimes frightening task of college applications, but also the tools to sustain a successful career once college ended. To go even further, The Opportunity Network has an amazingly successful program of internships that span from Fortune 500 companies to theaters and non-profits. The Opportunity Network recognizes students’ dreams, one at a time, right here in New York City.

I was a New York City high school student and regrettably, there was nothing like The Opportunity Network for me. I was a latch-key kid in a low income neighborhood, raised by a single mother who worked three jobs in order to care for my sister and I. Our focus was to get as far away from our neighborhoods as we could. The only alternatives seemed to be entertainment, sports and college. But the reality was, many kids in my neighborhood were unprepared for college.

Over worked and under paid educators began to speak to us about “realistic goals,” goals that did not include college for many of us. Although my mother worked too long and too hard to have much involvement in my schoolwork, I somehow made it through.

“On my own” is the theme of many high school students who struggle with getting out of their desperate situations and create a better life for themselves. Students like Eric, a Bronx native like me who was not only the first in his family to get as far as junior year in high school, but also the first in his school to be accepted to an ivy league school through the help of The Opportunity Network. The first in his school! Imagine that!

Imagine how many more can be helped through the dedicated work of The Opportunity Network? Now that I am a mother there is nothing in the world that means more to me than our children. They are indeed our future and there is no reason that they should continue to struggle and miss out on their dreams because of the misfortune that has befallen them. With the amazing work of The Opportunity Network, they no longer have to.

Vote for Opportunity Network on Facebook today.

– Seneca Iscove, UncommonGoods Customer Service

The Uncommon Life

East New York Farms

November 3, 2010

East New York Farms is no regular farm. It is an “urban farm” that was created in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The organization literally transformed once abandoned lots into beautiful fields of fruits and vegetables. Its farmers are the young people who live in the community. The food they grow is sold at a bi-weekly farmers market, only to residents of East New York at a price they can afford. They also provide workshops and cooking demonstrations to make health eating more accessible.

They hire a small staff a folks who oversee the operations and development of the youth, including my friend Sarita, who is honestly one of the happiest people I know. It is clear to me she is fulfilled by the mission of organization.

I am passionate about this organization, because I too have been transformed by produce. I got interested in cooking ten years ago after discovering a farmers market across the street from my office. I made simple dishes based on quality ingredients, and slowly over time noticed my health improving. I eventually lost 30 lbs and had a number of health conditions clear up. My experience taught me that improving our food is the best way to improve our health.

It’s the unfortunate truth that poorer neighborhoods, like East New York, generally have higher incidents of obesity and diet-related health conditions. And I think a big reason for that is little access to fresh food and less education about the issue.

East New York Farms is the perfect model to address these issues. I encourage your support by voting for ENY Farms on Facebook.

– Ameet Maturu, Online Marketing Manager

Design

Meet Us at World Maker Faire

September 21, 2010

If you’ve ever wondered where you can shop UncommonGoods in person, wonder no more. This weekend, we’re putting together an uncommon living room at World Maker Faire, a gathering of makers, crafters and DIY folk at the NY Hall of Science.

We’ll be showcasing all our past YouGoods winners along with a great assortment of our newest and best in handmade, eco-friendly, DIY-friendly, and modern design.

So come sit down in a seatbelt chair. Scribble a note on a chalkboard pillow. Make faces at our Tengu USB-Powered character. Bring your kids– we’ll have plenty of toys.

Seatbelt chair

And tell our CEO David Bolotsky about your product ideas. We’re looking for innovative and new product designs, and we want to hear from you, Makers! Stop by to share your ideas, and we just might help you bring your product to market.

UncommonGoods at World Maker Faire
NY Hall of Science, Queens, NY
Saturday, September 25: 10 – 7
Sunday, September 26: 10 – 6
*Product Pitch Hour: Sunday, 2-3 pm*

And once you’ve shared your ideas at World Maker Faire, come down to Times Square on Sunday at 6:00 P.M.  for Love In Times Square, with our friends at IndieFlix. They’re showing a sneak peak of the new movie game– Film Festival in a Box– and they’re inviting you to play. Four award-winning short films will be screening on the Jumbotron at 47th St. Don’t miss it!

Maker Stories

Carolyn Parello Opening

July 30, 2010

 

Usually on a Friday afternoon, I’m looking forward to the weekend, but right now I’m looking forward to Monday!

That’s because we’re sponsoring artist Carolyn Parello’s exhibit at Piola Pizza. The opening is this Monday, August 2, from 6-8 PM.

Come out to see Carolyn’s fantastic paintings, meet some of us UncommonGoods folks in person, and of course, grab a slice of pizza.

Hope to see you there!

The Uncommon Life

Anyone up for a game of bike polo?

July 12, 2010

bike polo

Definitely not for the faint of heart, bike polo is an up-and-coming urban sport that requires some serious grit and skills. Check out the full story about this uncommon sport by the Wall Street Journal.

bike polo

Hey! We know that guy! That’s UncommonGoods CEO Dave Bolotsky and his family taking in a game of bike polo at the Lower East Side court, known as The Pit.

Maker Stories

Designer Harry Allen in NYC

June 9, 2010

Live in New York? Like interesting design? Like wine and cheese?

Then swing by the Apartment Therapy Meetup tonight at Knoll and listen to a Q/A with designer Harry Allen!

Harry Allen is an award-winning interior and industrial designer. His work is highly imaginative and surprising. He often casts unexpected everyday items into functional pieces of modern art. Here are a few of the items we sell at UncommonGoods.

Nut Bowl by Harry Allen

Walnut and Peanut Bowls cast in white resin.

brush vase by harry allen

Paint brush vase hand cast from real brushes in resin and marble.

Hand hook by Harry Allen

Slightly creepy, but I can’t deny that it is interesting! Harry cast this wall hook from his own hand.

Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite blogs. And Maxwell, who runs the Meetup does an awesome job of asking artists/designers/creative types interesting and probing questions. It’s really informative, fun and free! Plus, there’s wine and cheese and a drawing to win a piece by the designer!

Hope to see you there!

Maker Stories

Get the Blues

May 20, 2010
Laura Lobdell

Calling all New Yorkers!

Like jewelry? Like manicures? Indulge in some girly fun today (Thursday, May 20th) from 6:30 to 8:30 at Butterfly Studio Salon where Uncommon jewelry artist Laura Lobdell will be hosting a jewelry and polish party!

Inspired by the glossy blue doors of Paris’ shops, Laura created this steely-blue-gray nail polish to complement her silver jewelry and celebrate the beginning of summer! Come by Butterfly Studio Salon to receive a complimentary mini manicure and a bottle of Laura Lobdell 183 nail polish, and check out Laura’s latest jewelry collection.

Butterfly Studio Salon
149 5th Avenue between 21st & 22nd (Second Floor)

Make sure you RSVP –  info@lauralobdell.com

Have fun, girls!

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