The holiday season can feel like such a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, everybody’s looking forward to kicking back and celebrating in all the good cheer. After all, what’s not to like about hopping from one party to the next as you enjoy good food and even better company. It’s the perfect time to unplug, unwind and laugh. But that’s just the problem… as much as you may expect to make merry memories, the holidays are never completely perfect. Mishaps and mistakes happen. People argue at the dinner table. Something always happens out of nowhere to throw a wet blanket on festivities. To be honest, it’s impossible to have a totally stress-free holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless to avoid some of the traps that usually ruin every! body’s fun. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid if you want to make the most out of the holidays:

     1. Last-Minute Shopping:
Whether or not you intend to host guests for the holidays, the closer you shop to the actual date of a holiday, the more crowds and shortages you’ll have to deal with. Make life easier and shop early.

     2. Dodging Chores:
There are two types of people during the holidays: the planners who prepare and clean everything up afterwards, and the slackers who only show up when dinner is served. Don’t be a slacker. Doing your part to pitch in is a great way to show your family and friends that you love them.

     3. Wingin’ It:
The only thing worse than shopping at the last minute is hosting parties or events without a plan. No matter how you intend to spend your time, if you’re going to share it with others, make a calculated effort to ensure their comfort and safety.

     4. Pigging Out:
Junk food reigns supreme during the holidays. However, just because you’re surrounded by delicacies doesn’t mean that’s the only food you should consume. Drink plenty of water, serve fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Keep the option to eat healthy open.

     5. Showing Off:
Sometimes it’s with decorations, and sometimes it’s with gifts, but the temptation to splurge money and impress people gets really intense over the holidays. Don’t spend! a fortune to prove a point that everyone will probably forget by New Year’s.

     6. Being Selfish:
You have all-year to be egocentric. When the holiday season arrives, try at least once to do something selfless for other people. Donate your time and resources to philanthropy. Volunteer. Do something to make this world a better place besides shopping for loved ones.

     7. Falling on Your Sword:
If you happen to be a control freak, don’t turn yourself into a martyr by taking over the holidays and molding them in your own image. Invite everyone around you to participate, and let your planning be a team effort. The party’s always more fun when every person is given a chance to contribute to a shared experience. 
     8. Talking Politics
Politics is poison, especially during the holidays. Even if you’re surrounded by like-minded people, be considerate and put away all political discourse. The last thing anyone wants to think about during a party is government.

Yes, bad things can happen unexpectedly during the holidays, but if you have it within your power to prevent chaos, then by all means do so. As you gather with friends and family this holiday season, always remember that the reason why we go through all the fuss of cooking turkeys and congregating together is because of one word – love. So as much as possible, do everything you can to ensure that the time you spend with others throughout what’s left of the year is filled with love, and packed with positivity. Be safe, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Innocent families in California are in mourning yet again because of gun violence. On Nov. 7, 2018, 12 people were fatally shot by a gunman at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. The shooting happened at 11:20 p.m. as the bar’s patrons were dancing and socializing. Authorities identified the shooter as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran with a suspected history of mental health issues. Long used a .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine to shoot a security guard before entering the building, deploying a smoke bomb, and opening fire on everyone inside. Law enforcement arrived at the scene within minutes of the first emergency-calls and began exchanging fire with Long as hundreds of civilians fled the shooting. When the gunfight was over, Long himself was found dead from bullet-wounds in an! office within the bar.

Every Mass Shooting is One Too Many:

To describe gun violence in America as a tragedy would be an understatement. According to research conducted by the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 307 verified mass shooting incidents in 2018 – and counting. Just twelve days prior to Long’s attack, 11 worshipers were killed and six others were injured when a gunman opened fire in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. Arguably the year’s most devastating shooting happened in February, when an active shooter took the lives of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, FL. Every time a catastrophe like this happens, there’s an endless circular debate about one basic question. Why? Why must mass shootings keep happening again and again?

Something Needs to be Done:

Most people want a clear-cut answer to this question. They want to be able to blame one specific element as the root cause of gun violence, assuming that having a clear scapegoat will make the problem easier to fix. But the truth is, gun violence is complex. It doesn’t have just one root cause. Rather, it’s the outcome of a cocktail of ignored problems and lapses in judgement. As complicated as gun violence may be, society no longer has the luxury of standing by while inaction allows innocent lives to get cut short in plain sight. Something needs to be done to address the fact that tens of thousands of people are either injured or killed every year because of preventable gun violence. Whether or not you are a proponent of the constitutional right to bear arms, it’s time to put aside hardline political positions and make compromises in order to make our communities safer. Shootings are no longer crimes that only happen in bad neighborhoods or dark alleyways. They happen in schools and places of worship. They happen at concerts and bars. If people no longer have the freedom to feel safe at places like these, then society is broken. Nobody expects you to have all the answers to the pandemic of gun violence, but here are some steps that would make a good start to solving this horrific problem:

1.       Alert Your Elected Officials:

Congress has the means and opportunity to implement transformational change in gun safety laws. You can provide the motive. Making a phone call or writing to your elected officials lets them know that this is an urgent issue, and it can incentivize them to explore ways in which to protect everyone from gun violence.

2.      Support Gun Safety Groups/Community Leaders:

Not everyone is standing by while gun violence claims lives. There are numerous existing organizations and community leaders who work ever day to keep neighborhoods safe from guns. Do some research on effective groups you can support, and enquire about how to help. You can opt to donate funds, or you can volunteer a helping hand personally. It may surprise you how much of a difference you can make by taking the time to get involved in your own community.

3.      Depoliticize the Gun Safety Debate:

Thanks to years of aggressive lobbying by advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA), the debate on gun safety has turned into a polarized partisan screaming match. Considering the fact that mass shooters don’t pause to ask victims about politics before pulling the trigger, you shouldn’t be looking for solutions based on political bias as well. If you hear a good idea – support it, no matter where it comes from. If you have to express your own opinions, keep them apolitical. Civility will do more to fix this mess than stubborn grandstanding

Safety isn’t a privilege, it’s a human right. For that matter, it’s a human right that should be guaranteed to everyone regardless of politics. The more people react to mass shootings with skepticism and apathy, the more we normalize what should be regarded by everyone as a heinous atrocity. It’s time to stop avoiding the menace of gun violence, and start coming up with lasting solutions to eliminate it. The only thing preventing this is our own willingness to try.

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On June 2, 2017 the president formally announced that the United States would withdraw from participation in the Paris Climate Agreement. Because the US ranks as the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, some argue that American withdrawal from this global effort could sabotage the agreement’s overall goal of reducing pollution that directly contributes to global warming. These developments stirred a whirlwind of debate about environmental conservation and social responsibility, prompting numerous public figures to pledge support for the Paris Climate Agreement in protest of the Trump administration’s withdrawal.

As disappointing as it was to watch the government choose against cooperating internationally to rectify climate change, the fact still remains that the ultimate power to end pollution doesn’t lie with large institutions. It depends more on the collective will and individual initiative that ordinary citizens take to practice environmental conservation on a daily basis. Posting outrage on social media all day may create awareness, but awareness without action does nothing to reverse pollution. Only through recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption of natural resources can the detrimental culture of pollution be eliminated. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do for a living, everybody can play a constructive part to tackle pollution by:


1.       Recycling:

Recycling refers to the process of converting waste and garbage into new products rather than disposing of it in landfills, incinerators and water bodies. Outside of outlawing irresponsible manufacturing practices, recycling is the most effective measure people can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that precipitate climate change. The most beneficial way to recycle as an individual is as follows:

·         Don’t just throw out garbage. Dispose of it in a categorized manner. Collect recyclable waste in separate bins and then send it to facilities that can process the waste further into new products. Every city has recycling centers that are ready and equipped to receive materials from the public.

·         Never dispose of electronics or potentially hazardous items in open dumpsters. Always seek out special collection events, or permanent collection centers, that cater specifically to proper disposal of sensitive materials such as: Electronics, Batteries, Used Oil, Paints, Cleaners, Pesticides, Glass, and Tires.


2.       Reusing Waste:

Recycling is a process that demands manufacturing new items from scratch. There are however ways that people can make use of waste without having to generate new products, and that’s through reusing. Reusing refers to the process of cleaning and refurbishing waste so as to reduce the volume of materials being channeled into garbage disposal facilities. It may sound unsavory, but the majority of what people throw out is actually still viable for some form of daily application or another. Reusing waste helps conserve the environment by easing the burden of activity on disposal facilities and ensuring that products are consumed to their maximum possible functionality. Simple ways to reuse include:

·         Donating used items to charity. Before getting rid of clothes, vehicles, furniture, toys or other such durable items, try and find a charity or thrift store that’s willing to repurpose them in some way.

·         Avoid disposable products. If you have a choice to use long-lasting consumer items, it is much more ecological to purchase such goods than ones that quickly end up in the trash. For instance, paper plates and Styrofoam cups require far more natural and financial resources to use than permanent tableware.

·         Purchase goods made from recyclable materials. Creating demand for recycled products encourages manufacturers to invest more in environmental protection.


3.       Reducing Consumption:

By far the most effortless way to make a difference in terms of being environmentally conscious is through efficient consumption of resources. Ironically, when people have ready access to a supply-chain, they tend to use goods and services neglectfully by either using too much, or throwing things away gratuitously. The basic act of consuming resources efficiently is environmentally conscious because it decreases the volume of waste generated. Practical ways to reduce consumption include:

·         Use of power-save settings on electronic devices and switching them off when not operational.

·         Use of energy-efficient technology.

·         Going Paperless: as much as practically possible, opt to maintain digital records instead of filing all records in hardcopy.

·         Performing basic repairs on items with minor damage instead of throwing them out entirely. For instance just because an outfit loses a button doesn’t mean it’s obsolete.

·         Brainstorming how to re-use plastic goods before disposing of them. Plastics can often be refurbished as containers in a variety of ways.

·         Purchasing products with minimal packaging.

It’s certainly true that making your voice heard on this issue can make a statement. But it’s more important to realize that only continuous actions can make an impact. The survival of our planet doesn’t exist on social media. It exists in our decisions to stop typing and start recycling, reusing, and reducing what we consume. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative workshops and events listed on our website and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how RISE Programs can help you break past your dai! ly struggles and start soaring in success.

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“WATER WELL” Project

Give a better life! Be a part of this wonderful opportunity to change the lives of thousands of people by donating $10 or $20 to the “Water Well” project where RISE Africa joins forces to make an expedition to Kenya, Africa. The people there have put their heart and hope in knowing that the project will bring purified water to drink, without exposing them to more deadly diseases. They currently drink water that has not only been stagnant, but that comes from the same place where elephants, giraffes, zebras and other animals drink their water. For Kenyans, there is no alternative but for us there is; please donate today and help us on our journey to complete the Water Well Project.

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RISE International Programs seeks to make a great impact in this world through our powerful programs. RISE does not only serves local needs but also worries about crossing borders, support and meet the needs of other nations in an emotional, spiritual and material level.

RISE International for Children
RISE Programs has developed a comprehensive program for children and youth in Kenya, Africa. Providing a safe and productive learning environment for children to learn beyond of what a traditional school day has to offer.

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