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If you’re looking for a way to get outside while also improving your whole self, gardening may be the hobby for you.

At Operation Xcel, we care about every family connected to our organization, as well as those who are not yet connected. We want everyone to have a fun, memorable, and, above all, safe summer. We hope that these summer safety tips will help all families. We look forward to hearing the stories from the students and parents at the Summer camps and when they return to the afterschool program in the Fall.

In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, which was sponsored by the Democratic (CA) Congresswoman Barbara Lee. This resolution acknowledged the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. During Caribbean-American Heritage Month (CAHM), all Americans have the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements and dreams of the millions of individuals of Caribbean descent who currently call the United States home.

You know volunteering has a positive influence (make friends, build connections, gain experiences, etc.), but did you know that it can actually assist your health?

Immigrant Heritage Month is an opportunity for us as Americans to reflect on our heritage. It's a chance to think about where our ancestors lived before coming to America, the language and culture of their homeland, and the unique aspects of their ethnicity. These are questions that recent immigrants can easily answer, but they may be more challenging for older individuals. Immigrant Heritage Month can be a fresh start, a time to learn more about our heritage, embrace diversity, be more inclusive, and try to get to know our neighbors whose heritage is different from our own. It's a time to recognize and appreciate the valuable contributions immigrants have made to the United States.

There are always ways to give back to others around you, even including the presents you buy. Here are some ideas for Father’s Day gifts that give back.

Operation Xcel offers its 3 Steps Ahead summer program, which is not all fun and games. Instead, it is a STEAM-focused enrichment camp that helps children maintain their academic success from the last school year and prepares them for the next grade because students do not have the memory of elephants. Operation Xcel offers 3 Steps Ahead to help students avoid the ‘Summer Slide’ with the bonus of fun and games.

With the help of a bicycle, we can take better care of the environment, our physical bodies and even spend time together. So how can you mark this momentous occasion?

Each day gun violence takes the lives of 120 Americans and many more who are wounded in the United States. Wear Orange in honor of Hadiya Pendleton and the 43,000 others who died and almost 76,000 who were shot but survive every year because of gun violence in America. Wear orange to demand a future without gun violence in America.

As the students learn to solve problems independently using their acquired skills, they are more apt to solve other complex problems using the same skills having learned by doing them.  This project-based learning is crucial in a fast-paced global economy where students will work at some point.  Preparing students for future leaders in a global economy requires more than teaching them to pass a test.  Future-focused learning requires that students acquire problem-solving skills and continue to cast them into necessary tools and skills for critical thinking to solve global issues where they will, one day, attain profitable careers as future leaders, should they choose.

Memorial Day means much more than time off from work and hosting a barbecue, so if you want to get involved this weekend, check out these great ways to give back.

This blog emphasizes the importance of family engagement in the education of their child and how healthy communication between schools and parents can result in optimal academic, attendance, and behavioral outcomes for students. A comprehensive review of the literature on family engagement in early childhood reveals a universal interest in educational success among families from diverse socioeconomic, educational, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. When provided with the necessary information and guidance, these families could effectively support their child’s learning at home and school.

Art galleries are a beneficial component of any neighborhood. Check out some of these ways art galleries are important and why you should visit them this summer.

If you’re new to the tea game, here’s a breakdown of some of the main types of healthy teas and why you should start drinking them right away.

A report released by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in 2020 titled "AAFA Rolls Out National Roadmap to Address Serious Asthma Disparities Impacting Black and Hispanic Americans" shows that African and Hispanic Americans have the highest mortality rates among those with asthma (AAFA, 2020).[i] Latinos of Puerto Rican heritage have the highest rates of asthma.

Operation Xcel is committed to providing a comprehensive approach to the programs we offer to underserved and at-risk students in Guilford County. The majority of our students come from African American and Hispanic-American communities. We are deeply invested in the well-being of all our students, and we strive for equality in the programs and care we provide, especially for those who lack resources. As a community, we believe targeted interventions, scientific research, and effective policies can improve asthma outcomes and promote health equity.

Children need to know that it is 'okay to not be okay'! Getting a child the help that he/she needs to deal with childhood traumas and insecurities may prevent them from carrying the residue of the events into their adulthood. Parents, when was the last time you gave your child a mental wellness check-up? May 9th is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Operation Xcel reminds parents of its significance and is a reminder to schedule a little time to have that heart-to-heart chat with your child/children.

Storytelling is powerful, and it has enormous benefits in store for you and those around you. Today we’re going to talk about how storytelling can impact your life.

Did you know that what you do to move your body regularly promotes a healthier body and increases your energy afterward?  Starting and staying physically active reduces a person’s chances of acquiring sicknesses, especially avoidable conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.  Physical activity increases one's heart rate when exercising and lowers one's risk for these diseases.  It is not necessary to participate in high-energy, high-impact sports to improve one’s health.  One of the best forms of physical exercises with the greatest benefit to the body is low impact and requires no special equipment. Can you guess what that activity is?

May Day is a time to come together with family and friends and create festive crafts. If you’re looking for a way to get started, check out these 5 cool craft ideas to celebrate.

This month aims to increase awareness about stress, its negative effects and how to relieve it. If you’re experiencing stress, keep these ideas in mind for how to relax.

Whether it’s a few hours or a long commitment, volunteering not only supports those around you, but positively influences you as well. Here’s six ideas to get started.

The arts play a vital role in our society. In fact, without the arts, much of our history, expression and culture would be virtually nonexistent.

Operation Xcel is blessed to have several volunteers, including students from High Point University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, homemakers, parents, and others.  We appreciate the time each person takes out of their schedules to donate their time to the good cause of helping our students excel academically, socially, physically, and socially. The students who graduate from the program and continue excelling through college and profitable careers prove that the seeds of volunteerism continue to flourish in the students’ lives.

Meditation is powerful. If you’re unsure whether or not the practice is worth looking into, check out these top ways meditation can help improve your life.

Turns out, regular writing and keeping a journal actually has a lot of surprising mental and emotional health benefits. Today, we’re going to check them out.

Operation Xcel is a diverse organization that embraces the unique culture and communication style of all the people it serves—students, staff, parents, volunteers, and other customers.  As a quilt of many colors and patterns, Operation Xcel supports, collaborates, and embraces one another’s unique differences while understanding and expecting they can rely on each other to offer invaluable programs to everyone, especially those families often overlooked, marginalized, and underserved.

Despite their age, children can have a powerful impact in the community, if only we encourage them to do so. Here are four reasons kids should start volunteering young.

Beverly Perdue, North Carolina’s first female governor, is a Women's History Maker who worked towards improving the education system in the state. Perdue drew on her extensive experience as a public school teacher, administrator of a community college, and University of Florida professor to advocate for efficiency and innovation in the state's public schools. Thanks to her insights and wisdom, North Carolina implemented her innovative career-readiness approach to educating students. She helped the state achieve the state’s first high school graduation rate of over 80%. Operation Xcel shares the same drive and program initiative as Perdue ensuring that students are career-ready while offering robust academic enrichment after-school and summer programs for youth in Guilford and Rockingham Counties.

Gardening not only brings in beautiful colors, scents and foods to your home, but it has added benefits just for you. Here are some reasons you should plant a garden this season.

By going green, we create a better environment for ourselves and future generations. Check out these easy ways you can live an altruistic—and green—lifestyle.

March 8th is SEL Day. Low-income and minority students face obstacles to healthy development. Equitable social-emotional development is crucial for their well-being. Effective strategies and resources must be implemented to help them achieve their full potential. Operation Xcel implements ongoing training and development that covers Social Emotional Learning, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Learning Equity Network of Solutions (LENS) which equips it educators with tools and strategies to teach our students how to remove obstacles to their learning.

We're shining the light on Ms. Keiyonna Dubashi, an Education History Maker for Week One of Women's History Month!

In January 2021, Ms. Dubashi and Anna Almore published a story on Education NC’s essential education news website (ednc.org).  In her article, Ms. Dubashi discusses the vision of Profound Ladies, a women of color education advocacy organization in North Carolina.  Profound Ladies, founded in 2020, “equips women of color educators with the mentorship, training, leadership, and career development needed to shift the educational landscape from the ground up.” 

This Women’s History Month, get involved by showing support for the women in your community. Check out these ways you can remember powerful women from history, while advocating for women today.

March is American Red Cross Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about the mission and recognizing the volunteers who serve to make possible the "life-saving mission" of the American Red Cross.

Perhaps you are not able to go to Poland as a Red Cross volunteer, but you may be able to donate blood to ensure the Red Cross has blood in the event of a disaster or simply a low supply. This month is a good time to get connected with the American Red Cross as a volunteer or donor. Did you know that the American Red Cross trains and certifies in CPR, First Aid, and Babysitting?

Operation Xcel supports this community partner and its mission because we never know if it will be us who will need the services of the American Red Cross.

When it comes to supporting local business, there’s more to it than helping the community; it supports you too. Check out these reasons why going local helps you out in the long run.

There are ways we can challenge ourselves to grow in empathy. If you want to learn more, check out these tips for how to cultivate more empathy for others.

We want you to be healthy and preserve your livelihood! Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in five deaths is due to heart disease, even though the disease is largely preventable.[1] Knowing your own risk factors for heart disease can help guide your lifestyle choices, so talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you’re clear. Just as important: know your numbers.

If you strive to live an intentionally altruistic lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place to learn more. Here are seven ideas for random acts of kindness.

What if you could live with more compassion this week and share love with other people in your community, country, or even the world? Turns out, you can!

National Cancer Prevention Month is recognized in February for the entire month. National Cancer Prevention Month is an "opportunity to spread the word and take action to live better, healthier, and happier lives.” It is never too early to begin talking about how to prevent cancer in children. Teaching children the importance of a healthy lifestyle and making healthy choices of food and activity may prolong their lives and help them avoid cancer.

Give yourself and your loved ones the greatest gift this American Heart Month by focusing on making heart-healthy decisions towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.

February 4th is the day Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was born. Mrs. Rosa Parks became the mother of the Civil Rights Movement because she refused to relinquish her seat in the face of injustice. President Bill Clinton presented Rosa Parks with the Congressional Medal of Honor. The honorable Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Michigan), one of the sponsors of the bill to honor her, deemed Rosa Parks as the spark that “ignited a determined and righteous crusade” after having successfully dismantled the “harsh rule of Jim Crow.” Operation Xcel celebrates the life of Rosa Parks and is grateful for her courageous stand while she remained seated on the city bus!

February is recognized as Black History Month every year. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) provides themes for this month-long celebration. In 2024, the theme is African Americans and the Arts. The objective of this month is to pay tribute to the lives of African Americans who have made or are making history in the Arts. We plan to share some form of media or a blog every week to highlight a noteworthy African American. We invite you to return each week to learn, celebrate, and share information with your family and friends.

ASALH's mission is to "promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community." This article serves as an excellent starting point to celebrate the history and lives of notable African Americans throughout February and beyond. Click on the image or title to read ASALH's article about this year's theme.

Check back each week to learn about a notable African American in the Arts!

It can sometimes be difficult to consider how exactly to recognize Black History Month. What can you do? Here are six ideas for honoring Black History Month.

Self-defeating thoughts can come when we least expect them and tear down our self-esteem and break our spirits. So how can we stand up to them and choose joy instead? Check out these 5 ways!

The world will celebrate the sixth International Day of Education on January 24, 2024. This year's theme is "learning for lasting peace." Unfortunately, the world is currently experiencing a surge of violent conflicts, which is accompanied by a worrying increase in discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech. The impact of this violence is not limited by geography, gender, race, religion, or politics, and it affects both offline and online communities. The process of learning for peace must be transformational, and it should equip learners with essential knowledge, values, attitudes, skills, and behaviors, so that they can become active agents of peace and live peaceably in their communities.

The purpose of Data Privacy Week is to make people aware of online privacy for individuals and organizations. As a public organization that champions data security, these commitments are what those we serve and those with whom we conduct business can expect from our organization:

Operation Xcel respects data privacy and safeguards the demographic and financial information of its participants, parents, sponsors, donors, and others with whom we interact to conduct business. This post provides safeguards that citizens may use to protect their data privacy.

The art of meeting new people, and establishing new relationships, is a genuine skill. And, you don’t even have to be a social butterfly to master it!

This blog results from taking a look at the current American public education system through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how one might assess the progress since he penned and turned in his 'The Purpose of Education' paper at Morehouse College in 1947.  Dr. King believed that education must inspire students to think critically, looking beyond words spoken from lecterns or the pages of books toward the rationale and reasoning behind the themes that the words create.  The purpose of critical thinking is not only to examine what makes reasons and statements good but also to enhance the student's rational thinking skills. This means improving students’ ability to form, maintain, and reject beliefs based on whether they meet the criteria of good thinking. Operation Xcel supports the ideals that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted in his The Purpose of Education paper. Operation Xcel provides equal access to quality educational resources in its programs.

Fortunately, recent studies have shown that volunteering with people (or a cause you care about) can actually mitigate depression and anxiety issues.

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