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It's Immigrant Heritage Month

Operation Xcel celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month 2024

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Immigrant Heritage Month.  America is home to over 325 million people, most of whom have immigrated from other countries. The immigrant heritage has played a pivotal role in shaping the country's foundation across all aspects of its economy and industry from the very beginning. Many immigrants have left their native countries to seek refuge and better opportunities in the United States, often fleeing persecution, poverty, or war. By doing so, they not only fulfill their own needs but also contribute to the economy and diplomacy of the United States. The U.S. government acknowledges immigrants' significant value to all levels of society.

In 2020, the United States had a population of nearly 326 million, with 86% being born in the country and 14% being naturalized citizens or noncitizens. The immigrant population was almost 45 million, and one in four children had at least one immigrant parent. At the time, there were 75.3 million children aged 0-18 in the U.S. 75% of these children had parents who were born in the U.S., 22% had parents who were either noncitizens or naturalized citizens, and the remaining 3% were not U.S. citizens. Children from immigrant families often face systemic challenges in accessing healthcare and education.

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 own 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.

Operation Xcel employs bilingual staff to work with children and parents whose primary language is not English. These children come from homes that only speak Spanish, as it is the most widely spoken language besides English in America. Ms. D. King, a former Operation Xcel Site Director, offers insight into how Operation Xcel promotes inclusiveness and multicultural diversity as part of its programs.

At Operation Xcel we have one of our very own teachers, Mrs. Vivian, who is an immigrant from Cuba, and is bilingual. She helps with the translation of documents, student homework, marketing, community gatherings, parent concerns, and needs. She also offers Spanish as an Enrichment Activity for our students. Mrs. Vivian also accompanies me to the feeder schools to show support for our Hispanic/Latino families by participating in open houses and other programs, etc.

We also incorporate Cinco De Mayo and other Hispanic heritage recognitions into our parent nights throughout the school year. As a Site Director, I learned how to communicate with the parents when they arrive to pick up their students. It shows respect for their language and demonstrates that we are here not only as a service but as a support.

Have you ever considered assisting a child for whom English is their second language with reading or other subjects?  Operation Xcel has volunteer slots available that you might fill in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month and beyond. 

Click on this link to learn more about how you might get involved: https://operationxcel.org/get-involved/volunteer.html

Maybe you are not able to volunteer.  Will you consider donating to help Operation Xcel continue to offer programs to children/youth via its Afterschool Program and Summer Camp at no cost to the participants?  There is a button to donate at the top of each of the pages on our website or you may simply click on this link:  https://operationxcel.org/get-involved/donate.html Operation Xcel appreciates your support!

Make this a Memorable Immigrant Heritage Month!!!

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