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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.

Positivity is key to creating an altruistic lifestyle in the New Year. If you want to start 2024 off on a high note, check out these tips for living a positive life this year.

If you’re ready for fun and flurries this winter season, check out some of these great winter wonderland adventures to try with your family.

Christmas is a widely celebrated cultural and religious event that falls on December 25th. People all around the world have been observing it for thousands of years with various traditions and practices, both religious and secular. Whether you're at the market or the mall, it's common to hear "Merry Christmas!" greetings. As part of the holiday spirit, we at Operation Xcel would also like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

This blog is to express our gratitude to everyone who attended any of the Winter Showcases that took place in December 2023. These showcases were designed to give our community supporters a better understanding of the STEM/STEAM-related academic enrichment programs that our staff and students worked on at Operation Xcel during the first half of this school year.

We’ve compiled a list just for you on last minute gift ideas that give back. Try some of these out to celebrate the holidays more altruistically this year.

Migration is a topic that demands our attention and understanding, especially in today's globalized world. International Migrants Day is not only a chance to acknowledge migrants but also an opportunity to embrace our shared humanity and responsibilities.

Do you want more opportunities to give to your community? We’ve compiled a list of holiday fundraiser ideas to get involved in yourself or with other altruistic causes.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights challenges us to take a proactive approach. It requires us to resist attacks against rights that come from global, transnational, and local sources. However, simply resisting is not enough. The declaration also calls on us to disrupt the construction of world orders that perpetuate “historical privileges and injustices, violate rights, and silence” advocates for those rights. Additionally, we must “transform global governance by reimagining, innovating, and leading”.

Image by FREEPIC

Operation Xcel is forever grateful for the part volunteers play in the development of the human component of sustainable development, which is our future generation - our Operation Xcel students! When people think of sustainability, they often associate it with the environment, but sustainability encompasses much more than that. Sustainability is about ensuring that future generations, including our children and grandchildren, inherit a world that is livable and prosperous.

As we dive into the season of giving this month, let’s explore how the very action of giving can lead to a more altruistic life, improve our mood and even makes us happy.

Singing with others has numerous health benefits for your body and mind. Here are a few ways to be healthier and happier with music in your life.

November is Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This month is dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people and recognizing their significant contributions, as stated by the National Congress of American Indians.

Thanksgiving is a public expression or celebration of gratitude for divine goodness. For us at Operation Xcel, we want to take the time to express our thanks for everything that you have done and continue to do to help our program meet its goals and be successful. Thank you for all that you do!

Gratitude is about more than taking a second to say “Thanks.” Gratitude shows true appreciation. This Thanksgiving, we have some ideas for how you can give gratitude.

National Diabetes Awareness Month is intended to facilitate a better understanding of the types of diabetes, its risk factors, and its symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 37.3 million Americans, and 8.6 million have the disease but don’t know it; but, diabetes is a preventable disease that can be avoided through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. 

On November 25th, support your local businesses and discover hidden gems in your town.

American Education Week takes place from Monday, November 13th to Friday, November 17th. Each day celebrates a different group of people who contribute to the successful education of children within the public school system. The NEA suggests a different focus and ideas for your participation on each day.

STEM and STEAM education programs are crucial for the progress of society and global competition. There’s no denying the fact that children benefit significantly from solid skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). These subjects play an indispensable role in driving society forward, and STEAM/STEM education programs offer an opportunity to teach them to students in a fun and engaging way. Therefore, it's worth commemorating STEAM/STEM Day on November 8th to show support for students in these fields. By making learning these subjects enjoyable, we can teach students more effectively, which in turn will help them excel in their future careers. You can also show your support by learning more about STEM education programs and scholarships offered by institutes worldwide.

“The international comparisons fueled discussion of U.S. education and workforce needs. The bipartisan congressional STEM Education Caucus noted: “Our knowledge-based economy is driven by constant innovation. The foundation of innovation lies in a dynamic, motivated and well-educated workforce equipped with STEM skills.”” (https://nationaltoday.com/stem-steam-day)

In order to ensure U.S. prosperity, educators directed their focus toward science, math, technology, economics, and education. These areas were given high priority to promote growth and development.

This month looks at the world through the eyes of a child, so today we look at how you can recognize National Child Safety and Protection Month, and keep the children in your life safe.

If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are lots of ways to help out this Halloween. Here are some top tricks to make Halloween a treat for everyone.

Make October about more than just pumpkin spice lattes and costumes. Check out some of these ideas on how you can give back this month.

It is inevitable that some children who are part of Operation Xcel have family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer now or in the past. It is common for parents to ignore sharing this information with their children during such situations, assuming that they won't be able to understand the situation. But children, regardless of their age, are good at picking up their parents' distress, even when their parents think they are hiding it well. Sometimes, children may respond to the news of a family member's breast cancer better than their parents expect. However, the key to helping them understand is through open communication. This article provides not only useful information but also links to websites with useful resources for tips and toolkits to enlighten children about how a family member's cancer diagnosis may affect their lives and how to respond to it if it does.

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