Ciro Scala had to delay school. Fifty years later, he returned, earning two degrees and the respect of younger students.
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Ms. Bellafante writes the Big City column, a weekly commentary on the politics, culture and life of New York City.
In the fall of 1959, Ciro Scala, just out of high school, was commuting to a clerical job in Times Square from Staten Island and also going to City College, uptown on Convent Avenue in the evenings. The trip home — which relied on the IRT to Lower Manhattan, the Staten Island Ferry and then a bus to New Brighton — took about two and a half hours, although sometimes it extended to three, getting him home, in every instance, past midnight. Ground down, he eventually gave up and stopped attending classes, which he did with a sorrowful resignation.
The youngest of five children, Ciro was the son of Southern Italian parents who had resisted assimilation. “They never talked about school,” he told me recently. “We had to work. The whole idea was to get a job. High school, yes, but after that, college was not discussed.” Instead he was to help support his family.
The move to Staten Island, when Ciro was a teenager, meant they had a home with a shower for the first time. Previously, the family had lived in a cold-water flat in Brooklyn on the border between Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant at a time when the area still had many factories. Bathing was a matter of standing at the kitchen sink. Ciro’s three sisters all shared the same bed — two at the head, one at the foot. In the summer when it was hot, everyone slept on the roof.
Success, of a kind he had not foreseen, would come in the decades ahead: a climb up the ranks of the textile business, which began with a stint in a mail room; a Brooklyn Heights townhouse, bought fortuitously in 1979; a daughter sent to private school; summers on the East End of Long Island. But these markers of an urbane, affluent life on the other side of the world from where he had grown up, only a few miles away, were not the endgame. He could not shake the regret he felt over failing to complete his education. Now in his 70s, he resumed the journey that had been interrupted so long ago.
“I just never wanted to die without a diploma,” he said. “I lived a life. I felt I was successful. But without that diploma I was not whole. I didn’t want to leave that legacy for my grandchildren.”
Ordinarily, I would have met with Ciro at his townhouse, where my husband and I had rented an apartment on the top floor 14 years ago. When my son arrived early, in advance of the crib I had bought, we got home from the hospital to find that the Scalas had set up a bassinet for us in his nursery. We were speaking on the phone now because Ciro was understandably nervous about Omicron.
Nonetheless, the pandemic had not struck him as a time for languishing. As so many others retreated from their ambitions, he leaned deep into his own. A few years earlier he had returned to City College; by the end of 2020 he had completed not only his bachelor’s degree in political science but also a masters in history. Eventful as that had been, it was not the whole story. Everywhere at school he saw versions of himself at 18 — students who were at once energized by their aspirations but also held back by their insecurities or need to make money, in conflict with parents who clung to traditional cultural values.
At one point, he met a young Egyptian woman who had a distinct vision for her future. “She’d talk about her family and wanting to bust out,” Ciro told me. The family owned a pharmacy. “She’d say, ‘I’m not just going to be a pharmacist’s wife.’ The family didn’t love it. She was a modern woman who also happened to be Muslim.”
All of this inspired him in still another direction. Two years ago, he approached Andrew Rich, the dean of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College, about setting up a program to help students who were the first in their families to go to college. Theoretically, this is where City College, founded in 1847 as an experiment in educating “the whole people” excels. Only 14 percent of undergraduate students are white. But the agenda Ciro developed, focused on a series of workshops around subjects like impostor syndrome, is regarded as singular in its intensity.
“A big part of Ciro’s program is at the earliest point possible to help students realize how they can take full advantage of this place,” Mr. Rich said. This was a direct line to fellowships and paid internships. “Ciro brings a distinctive commitment and compassion to making sure these kids make it through college.”
Returning to school after nearly 60 years had presented its own series of bureaucratic challenges. The high school Ciro went to in Brooklyn could not provide his transcript, which turned out to be on microfiche and thus might as well have been preserved on bark. City College had maintained a record of his time there, but still he would be required to take an entrance exam, he was told.
“I said: ‘What kind of test do I have to take? I opened a business; I closed a business. I traveled the world. I haven’t done algebra in a million years.’” Eventually he found someone who simply let him enroll; he began again, with a single course on the presidency. “And then I just kept going,” he said, “because time was of the essence.”
Moving along with a mission among people who were decades younger, he had not imagined acquiring a social life, but his classmates gravitated toward him — students from the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean. “We’d finish up after class and they’d say, ‘Hey, Ciro, what are you doing? Want to go get coffee?’ and I’d think What?” One evening he found himself joining his new friends to hear music at a tavern in Gowanus.
With Mahir Syed, whom he met in a class called The Historian’s Craft, he got involved in an ongoing text chain about the Yankees. Sadaab Rahman befriended Ciro in a class on African-American political thought. “He came in with a legal pad; everyone else was on their laptop,” Mr. Rahman, now a law student, told me. He was impressed by the way that Ciro modeled both how to use his voice in class but also how to hold back and let others have the floor. “He really helped people speak their truth; it was like having another professor in the class, a coach.”
In 2020, after he graduated, Ciro decided that he wanted to teach. Last year, he fulfilled that goal on the cusp of turning 80. Professors sent him out into the market with letters of recommendation outsize in their praise of his leadership and academic rigor and convinced that he would make an “extraordinary teacher.” He sent out many applications, a number to charter schools, where he thought he would be especially valuable, but to no avail because they typically favor young graduates of liberal arts colleges who often have little in common with the students they teach.
A few months ago, though, he got a call back from Mary McDowell, a private school in Brooklyn that specializes in children with learning differences. Soon after, he began going to work there most days as a roving substitute teacher, working with high school students. “The fact that I am surrounded by young people is extremely fulfilling,” Ciro wrote me one afternoon. “I recommend it for all adults. Spend time with young people. Don’t put the ‘mentoring’ hat on. In my opinion, that’s a turnoff for kids. Meet them at their level. Listen!”
Low-calorie, high-protein meal prep lunches, weight loss, muscle gain – Insider
A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation.
This is such an easy lunch, and if you’re short on time you can even buy all the ingredients pre-cooked and just divide them into containers to take with you. I like to top quinoa with falafel, hummus, and roasted Mediterranean vegetables (such as red onion, peppers and or eggplant), but you can add whatever you like.
Dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine said: “Combining falafel with quinoa is a fantastic way to add variety to your lunches whilst still providing fiber and a complete source of plant-based protein (from the quinoa). Vegetables such as onion, peppers, and eggplant are highly nutritious yet low in calories, which support fat loss goals and you could even add low fat hummus or keep to 1-2 tbsp per portion to keep the calories down.”
I like to think of this as a mini British roast dinner — take an hour or two on a Sunday to cook a load of food in the oven, and you’ve got lunches for the week.
Choose whatever ingredients you prefer but I like the combination of chicken breast, sweet potatoes, carrots or parsnips, and brussels sprouts. It’s a balanced meal and delicious too.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Chicken breast is a lean and low fat source of protein so it’s great to add to your meals if your goal is fat loss and muscle gain. Including high fiber vegetables from the sprouts and parsnips will help to keep you satiated alongside the sweet potato which provides energy plus one of your 5-a-day, as it’s particularly rich in vitamins A and C (which help to support your immune system too).”
I love this classic salad combination. Simply top a bed of your favorite leaves with cooked beetroot, crumbled goat’s cheese, and some walnuts, then drizzle over a little honey vinaigrette when ready to eat. Try adding grains or some bread for extra energy.
Ludlam-Raine said: “This sounds delicious. Both walnuts and beetroot are heart-healthy additions to a salad. Aiming for one small handful of nuts per portion and keeping the cheese to no more than a 30-50g portion (approximately) will still provide a good source of healthy fats as well as protein and calcium to support healthy joints and muscles but keep the calories and saturated fat levels down too.”
Whether in a bowl or in tupperware, this is essentially a fajita, but instead of in a wrap, on top of brown rice. If you want to lighten the calories or raise the protein of a classic fajita, swap sour cream for fat-free Greek yogurt. I often put together bowls like this from leftovers so there’s no cooking involved.
1. Heat a little oil or cooking spray in a pan on medium-high heat.
2. Add the chicken and vegetables and fry until the peppers are soft and the chicken is cooked through, stirring regularly. Season with fajita seasoning, salt, and pepper.
3. Spoon your rice into a bowl or container and top with the chicken, vegetables, avocado, and yogurt.
Ludlam-Raine said: “This sounds delicious! I love adding Greek yogurt as a condiment to my foods (especially spicy dishes) for a boost of protein, calcium, and naturally occurring probiotics. You could also add some homemade salsa using chopped tomatoes, red onion, and coriander for extra veggies.”
It’s hard to go wrong with a simple sandwich. This combo is delicious and ticks all the macro boxes too. Use a bagel thin or try an open sandwich if you want to reduce the calories, or swap out avocado for cucumber or salad.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Many people shy away from carbs such as bread, but they shouldn’t be feared. Wholemeal and wholegrain breads are a key source of fiber in the diet as well as B vitamins, and may even be fortified with calcium and vitamin D too. Adding some lean protein such as chicken and cream cheese will help to keep you satiated, in addition to healthy fats from the avocado.”
This is a great recipe for dinner, and I love having leftovers for lunch — it’s just as tasty reheated in a microwave or eaten cold as pasta salad.
Cook wholewheat pasta, stir in a sauce made from low-fat cream cheese and pesto, cook up some meatballs or sausages (I often use turkey or chicken versions to keep it light) and whatever vegetables you fancy, and combine it all.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Turkey is a great lean source of protein which is high in essential amino acids, including tryptophan which is involved in the production of certain hormones such as serotonin and melatonin which promote a good mood and better sleep, too. Using a light cream cheese for the sauce is a great way to keep the calories down and saturated fats, too.”
I love frittatas and always mix up the fillings based on what I have. A go-to combination is cooked sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, zucchini, red onion, and feta, and sometimes I add egg whites to my whole eggs for a protein boost. A large frittata can provide 3-4 lunches, perhaps served alongside some salad or bread.
All you have to do is cook your fillings in a large frying pan on a medium heat (or add pre-cooked ingredients to heat up). Whisk your eggs with seasoning then pour into the pan and top with feta. Cook for about five minutes on the stove before transferring to the oven for about 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden on top.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Frittatas are a great choice…satiating…and low-calorie (depending what you put in it of course). They’re perfect for using up leftover vegetables and they’re high in protein too, which is key to prioritize when losing weight as it will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Bulking out this recipe with lots of non-starchy vegetables and a handful of potatoes will add extra fiber too as well as 1-2 of your 5-a-day.”
Another dinner which doubles as lunch the next day, stir-fries are nutritious, fast, easy, and tasty. I sometimes speed up the process even more by buying pre-prepared mixes of stir-fry vegetables.
All you need to do is heat some oil in a hot wok, stir-fry chopped veggies for a few minutes, add your protein of choice and cook for a few minutes more, add ready-made noodles or rice, then stir in your sauce. Sometimes I use edamame or lentil noodles for an extra protein boost.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Stir-fries are a great way to pack a good volume of vegetables into your meal if you struggle to meet your five-a-day. If you wanted to boost the protein content here, you could even add an egg and scramble in with the vegetables for an egg-fried stir-fry.”
How This Teenager Launched A Successful Influencer Marketing Business During Lockdown – Forbes
Christian Di Bratto
Having played and watched hockey all his life, Toronto-based teenager Christian Di Bratto knew a lot about brand partnerships and the exclusivity deals that players in the NHL had with the various equipment suppliers. “I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world that aside from getting free equipment, these players were being paid to wear it,” he says.
When the pandemic forced schools to close and lessons to go online, the extra free time became an opportunity to explore the market for himself. He launched his own brokering agency, Koala Digital, and began securing partnership deals between TikTok creators and brands. Aged just 19 he has brokered more than $140,000 in talent deals in the last 16 months.
His initial strategy was to approach influencers, starting with Justin Escalona, founder and creator of lifestyle clothing brand 1340 Collective. To his amazement, Di Bratto’s first cold DM to Escalona received a positive response, and he went on to broker deals for him with a beef jerky brand and a gambling site.
“Getting influencers on board is pretty easy, as long as they don’t already have representation,” he says. “I just wanted commission from the money that came in, so when someone offers to make them some money without charging them a fee they don’t usually say no.”
Di Bratto has a running campaign on email marketing site Woodpecker showcasing examples of what he can offer. When he finds an influencer that he wants to work with, he finds their business email, loads it into the campaign, and the software does the rest.
Notable TikTok creators he’s worked with include Daniel MacDonald, Mark Tilbury, and Frank Michael Smith. He has recently brokered deals with investment app Public and Wealthfront for Michael Smith and Daniel Mac. “I ask the influencers for lists of brands they want to work with, and then build lists of those and similar brands to approach,” explains Di Bratto.
Ultimately, success depends on the right fit between the creator’s audience, the audience that the brand is trying to reach, and the way that a brand can be introduced into the creator’s content in a non-intrusive way. “The fit between Daniel Mac and Public, for example, was so good that there wasn’t really a negotiation,” he says. “That deal was a big one for me; it felt as though I was cementing myself in the space.”
Koala Digital operates on a commission basis, and Di Bratto also works with The Influencer Marketing Factory agency, on a monthly fixed-fee basis. “Having some money coming in regardless of if whether or not I get personal talent deals done provides a welcome safety net,” he says.
Currently in his second year of the Real Estate Management program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Di Bratto is still juggling his studies with his business. The fact that his entire university experience to date has been online has given him more freedom to run his business, but he insists that he is disciplined with his studies.
“Mondays, for example, are purely client work and meetings until 3:00, when I have a finance class,” he says. Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons are strictly for school work. We are due to go back into class this month (January) so I’ll need figure that out.”
He is understandably tight-lipped about forthcoming campaigns, but as a long-term partner of investment app Public he hints at ‘some cool stuff’ just around the corner.
His goal is to build an asset and a strong team around it, and also to sign a creator to a management contract and help them grow their platform. He’s also been exploring the idea of running campaigns himself as an influencer marketing agency rather than a talent agent. “This would involve taking brand money and dispersing it among influencers identified as a good fit for the campaign they are hired to execute,” he says.
Di Bratto’s advice for other young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business is to ‘just get on with it’. He says: “I still have a long way to go, but I’m so much farther along my business journey than this time last year when I’d done one deal done and made $500 online. I still thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”
But he also advocates patience. “If I email 100 brands for a deal, I might get one done,” he says. “It takes time and it can be frustrating, but I’m a firm believer that with patience it will pay off.”
5 Easy Detox Meals for Faster Weight Loss — Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That
“Detox” is one of those buzzwords that grabs your attention especially after you’ve consumed too many salty snacks, deep-fried appetizers, and beers, or fill-in-the-blank with your favorite unhealthy meal. When you don’t feel great after eating the less-than-healthy food you ate, you may wish you had something to detoxify your body and cleanse your conscience.
Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on any specific food to remove the so-called “toxins” like preservatives, sugars, too much sodium, and saturated fats that you’ve welcomed into your body. Your organs do a fine job of detoxification naturally on their own.
But you can help your organs by adopting a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants.
Unfortunately, eating one healthy meal filled with these foods after a particularly unhealthy meal is not the answer; however, eating a variety of these foods every day is.
Some types of anti-inflammatory foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish that combat the chronic low-grade inflammation caused by consuming fried and highly processed foods. Antioxidants are compounds like vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene found in colorful fruits and vegetables that counteract cell-damaging molecules called “free radicals.” You’ll find an abundance of all of these “detoxifying agents” in the recipes below.
Put these delicious meals on your regular menu rotation and kick start a habit of clean eating that’ll build a stronger, leaner, healthier you. For more healthy, weight-loss-helping meals, check out 22 Meals to Melt Belly Fat in 2022.
Turn your slow cooker into your weight-loss partner. On days when you are crunched for time, it takes 20 minutes or less to “prep and dump” anti-inflammatory ingredients like beans, peppers, mushrooms, and turkey breast into a slow cooker pot and, you know, set it and forget it until you come home from work. For an antioxidant booster, add a crisp green salad as a side dish.
Get the recipe for Turkey and Two-Bean Chili.
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Going meatless several times a week is a great way to reduce saturated fats and hormones from meat in your diet. The chickpeas and quinoa in this hearty and satisfying soup supply 8 grams of protein to satisfy your hunger and boost your metabolism by building muscle. This recipe makes six servings, enough to freeze and save for a quick lunch another day.
Get the recipe for Chickpea Quinoa Soup.
RELATED: 20 Best Soups for Your Slow Cooker
A salad can make a satisfying low-calorie meal if you use the right plant-based ingredients like protein-rich garbanzo beans and the satiating, heart-healthy fat from olive oil. The fresh herbs (as well as the vegetables) have anti-inflammatory properties and the cauliflower in part provides powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against disease and dietary fiber to feed the good bacteria in your gut, which plays a key role in reducing inflammation.
Get the recipe for Mediterranean Cauliflower and Pepper Salad.
Unless you’re talking about Froot Loops, in general the more colorful your meal, the more detoxifying nutrients it contains. That’s why it’s hard to beat this easy and quick to clean up sheet pan dinner full of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds. The lead protein here is salmon (choose wild-caught), which is a great source of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA.
Get the recipe for Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon with Roasted Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, and Yellow Squash.
Instead of ordering Chinese takeout the next time you hunger for a flavorful Asian meal, use a grill pan to make quick work of chicken breast and crisp bell peppers and baby bok choi. Chinese American takeout tends to be very high in sodium and fat and therefore highly inflammatory. You can do better at home with clean, fresh, nutritious ingredients.
Get the recipe for Juicy Asian Chicken and Saucy Slaw.
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