Operation One is a Christ centered organization that engages supporters and acquires financial resources in order to provide education, training, health care and spiritual development to vulnerable children and families.
We believe that through education, each child is given a new perspective on how they see themselves and their community. Too often, these children are seen as burdens if they are orphaned, and they begin to think that their situation defines them. Through a holistic approach, Operation One seeks to turn a life of hopelessness into a life of HOPE. Our social workers provide sponsored children and families with psycho-social support, empowerment training, medical support, home-visits, and career guidance. Rather than focusing on only providing a child with an education, Operation One strives to address all the needs of a child – physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. One child. One future forever changed.
At Operation one, we take a holistic approach toward building vulnerable communities back to health in a number of areas while focusing on specific initiatives. We believe true change occurs when entire communities are supported- child, family, village. We believe in coming alongside the populations we serve- not just to help, but to empower them for sustainable change and impact.
Make your lifetime memories as part of an Operation One service team. Explore the world, make an impact. We can customize a trip for your group based on your interests and talents. Get in touch and begin planning your next adventure with Operation One.
Become a champion for a child through Operation One’s Child Sponsorship program. $40/month provides education, a hot meal, and medical care for a vulnerable child. $60/month sends a young adult to University. Learn More about how to change a life.
Operation One’s initiatives come alongside Uganda’s vulnerable to provide tools to create a lifetime of sustainable change. Donate to our medical center project or become a champion for micro enterprise . Your support can forever change a life.
One trip. One relationship with a sponsored child. One donation to our empowerment initiatives. At Operation One, we believe in the power of one. Carrying forward the spirit of Christ, we are here to help connect you to purposeful giving.
Building African Families
A strong family is a critical building block toward community maturity and outcomes. Operation One supports foster parents and families in our unique Ugandan Children’s Village, coming alongside the whole family to impact sustainable change.
Education is the path out of poverty. Operation One’s education sponsorship programs enable students to move from a life of poverty to a life full of hope and opportunity.
We respond to the heart of Christ by serving Africa’s most vulnerable orphans, widows, and vulnerable populations.
We are partners who share the story, burdens, and hopes of those in need, but give them the space to make their own decisions so that they might strengthen their communities in deep and lasting.
Board of Directors
Pam Purcell - Chairperson
Pam Purcell is a retired business executive and co-founder of a Christian school. She has a heart for children and has been involved in non-profit board leadership for 30 years. Pam graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in computer science. Pam grew up in Nebraska and since then has lived in six states. She has two daughters who are in college.
Pam was introduced to Operation One through a national music tour AOET-Uganda took across America. They made a stop in Pam’s neighborhood in Billings, Montana and she was hooked. In 2018, Pam was able to go on an Operation One service trip to Uganda and meet her sponsored child as well as the rest of the Ugandan staff. This trip brought to life the needs and possibilities for the Ugandans. She desires to help Operation One realize its mission and vision for helping the Ugandan people.
Pam is a lifelong learner, enjoys spending time in Montana, and spending time with family and friends.
Stephanie Baynes - Vice Chairperson
Stephanie Baynes is a Computer Scientist from Baltimore, Maryland. She studied Mathematics at the University of Maryland and received her MS in Operations Research from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Stephanie was introduced to Operation One through child sponsorship and has traveled to Uganda with Operation One. She is passionate about showing the love of Christ through missions and is honored to serve on the Board to help strengthen the Operation One mission.
Stephanie enjoys flying as a private pilot, volunteering/community service, and playing sports.
Vincenzo Leone - Treasurer
Vincenzo has been involved in the nonprofit world for the last 25 years. He started his involvement in Italy, at young age, helping refugee families from Sri Lanka. His college thesis, published in Italian, also contributed to the discussion of “The social responsibility of the Church before the world”, trying to find a biblical balance between “word and deed”. His passion is to empower and support the vulnerable, in the light of the gospel. He came to the United States to study and graduated with a Master’s in Divinity from Columbia International University and an MBA from Loyola University Maryland. He was the Director of Operations at World Relief for 9 years, where they resettled refugees across the U.S. and is currently the Director of Operations at Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland.
Vincenzo married Alice, from Paraguay, and they have lived and worked together in Italy, Switzerland, Paraguay, and the U.S. They have two children that are attending college, and if you visit their home it’s not uncommon to hear interactions in Italian, Spanish, and English, or hear them talking with someone across the globe. Vincenzo was introduced to AOET-USA/Operation One by the work and support of Grace Community Church, and Becky and Nick Ramsing.
Becky Ramsing - Secretary
Becky works with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the area of sustainable food systems and public health. She is primarily responsible for managing the Center’s science advisory role with the Meatless Monday Campaign, and she oversees research, communication, evaluation, and programming that facilitate a shift toward sustainable, healthy diets. Becky is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s of Public Health.
Prior to joining CLF, Becky worked with the University of Maryland as a Technical Advisor for Nutrition and Food Security for projects in Afghanistan and Ethiopia, helping women produce and utilize food for family consumption and income generation. She also worked as a nutrition consultant for community, worksite, and school-based programs developing and implementing health and nutrition curricula with clients such as Head Start, Howard County Public School System, and other business and community partners.
Becky and her husband Nick were a part of the team at their home church that began a partnership with AOET-Uganda in 2007. They lived in Jinja, Uganda in 2008/09 with their family and worked with Operation One‘s leadership team. They have continued to work with their church’s East Africa focus group since their return, including several trips back to Uganda between them. Supporting a local organization that helps vulnerable children and families access education and resources to live to their full potential is a privilege for them.
Originally from California, Becky and Nick have lived in Boston, Tanzania, Uganda, and now Maryland. They have 3 children – ages 17-23.
Lauryn Reade - Board Member
Lauryn is an elementary reading interventionist, currently on leave at home with her son. She studied Elementary Education at Elizabethtown College and received her Master’s Degree in Reading Education from Towson University. Lauryn worked as a general education teacher and reading interventionist for eight years teaching Kindergarten to 5th grade at a Title 1 school in Columbia, MD.
Lauryn was introduced to Operation One through a service trip to Uganda with Grace Community Church. She fell in love with the Ugandan people, leading her to return multiple years and serve on the church’s East Africa focus team. Loving children and supporting their future is a passion of Lauryn’s so she is honored to serve the vulnerable with Operation One.
Lauryn and her husband Matt met during undergrad and married in 2016. They enjoy exploring the world together, eating sushi, and binge-watching tv shows. They welcomed their first child, Oliver, in March 2020 and feel extremely blessed to be parents.
Paul Wides - Board Member
Paul serves as Pastor of Global Outreach and Care at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, Ohio. He developed a heart for the world while serving on short-term mission trips, which led him to leave a career in business and join his home church staff twenty years ago. Paul studied at Bowling Green State University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia International University. Paul’s passion is taking the gospel to where it has never been heard, establishing the church, and working toward real transformation both spiritually and physically.
Paul first learned about Operation One when Sam Tushabe made a fundraising stop at the church. It seemed clear from that first meeting that they shared a common vision for ministry which led to the current partnership. Paul was especially interested in the power that education combined with the gospel has to break the cycle of poverty for families in Africa.
Paul has traveled extensively abroad and loves to work cross-culturally. He has experience working with missionaries, agencies, churches, and orphanages. Paul enjoys training pastors and helping equip them for ministry. Paul is privileged to serve Operation One and looks forward to seeing children educated as well as equipped to serve God for their lifetime.
Paul and his wife, Deb, are lifelong Ohio residents. They have been married for 37 years and have three adult children and one grandchild.
Holly Soliman - Board Member
Holly graduated from Chapman University Fowler School of Law in May 2020. She is currently studying for the California Bar exam and is set to take the exam in September 2020 after which she’ll join the law firm of Lynberg and Watkins as an Associate Attorney.
During law school, Holly was heavily involved with various organizations that sharpened her practical skills as an attorney and as an advocate. She participated in several competitions across the United States where she defended her cases in appellate style oral arguments. She was also the President of the Health Law Society, an active member of the Student Bar Association, and a Student Ambassador for the law school.
Prior to law school, Holly worked as a High School teacher for four years, teaching 9th-12th grade Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics. She earned her Master of Science degree in Global Medicine at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, and two undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Religion at USC as well. During her years at USC, Holly participated in a program where she traveled to do public health and education work in Joyas, Honduras. She also worked for the non-profit, Share and Care, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for 4 years, an organization dealing with mental health and socioeconomic factors in inner-city Los Angeles schools.
Holly first visited Uganda at the end of her Master’s program in 2011. She had such a rewarding experience that she became a sponsor. She returned for a second visit in 2017 where her love for Operation One and the country of Uganda was reignited. Since then, she has continued to sponsor a child with the organization and has advocated her friends, family, and community for different initiatives for Operation One. She has always wanted to “do more” for Operation One and the people of Uganda and is thrilled to have this opportunity to do so.
Holly is an Egyptian-American and an active member of the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Michael, and her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Lola. She loves traveling the world and embracing new cultures and perspectives – evidenced by her tally of 29 countries in 6 years of marriage.
Laurie Gift Harris - Executive Director
Laurie joined AOET~USA/Operation One in 2015 and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. With over 30 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and friend-raising, she is delighted to be part of such an incredible organization, serving God’s children in Uganda.
A resident of the Portland metropolitan area for over 30 years, Laurie has a passion for all things children! In addition to her work with Operation One, she works with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Uganda, serves with Tigard turns the tide, a youth anti-drug coalition, and volunteers to help other local nonprofits whenever time allows.
Married to Chad, they have a blended family consisting of five children and two four-legged children. Laurie loves her family, friends, music, food, a good Malbec, and staying active (so that she can enjoy those things previously mentioned)!
Three things you should know about Laurie are that she loves sea salt dark chocolate, her german shepherd Liebe, and values relationships above all else.
Molly Kline - Child Sponsorship Director
Molly joined the AOET~USA/Operation One team in 2017 as the Child Sponsorship Director. She has worked with educational nonprofits for twelve years and also has a background in copywriting and communications. She is thrilled to join such a passionate team to support the educational and spiritual growth of Ugandans.
Molly has lived in Portland for much of her life. She has diverse interests, and remains involved with the PCPO (Parent Child Preschools Organization), serves on the board of the Cedar Hills Kindergarten and Preschool, and enjoys blogging about the Portland Trail Blazers. She likes to work hard and play hard, and can also be found playing basketball with her husband Derek and their four children, coaching youth soccer, or organizing a neighborhood game of glow in the dark tag. She loves all the good food that the NW offers (especially oysters!), road tripping with her kids, and karaoke!
Three things you should know about Molly is that she is always down for a fun adventure (one that involves laughter is the best!), she is a die-hard basketball fan, and her idea of a perfect evening is a group of friends gathered by a fire with lots of delicious food and conversation.
Heather Bennett - Bookkeeper
Heather joined AOET~USA/Operation One in 2019 as the bookkeeper. Heather has an inborn love for numbers and order. She studied Accounting through college and has since worked in the accounting field for years. When the opportunity presented itself to combine her love of numbers and her heart for Christ – Heather jumped at the opportunity! She considers herself very fortunate to be working for an organization that makes such a huge impact on the lives of Ugandan children. She is grateful to use her skills at Operation One.
Heather and her husband, Max, are in the throes of raising their two teenage boys. Attending their sporting events and various school activities make the hectic days all worth it! Heather is thankful for the milder seasons of the Pacific Northwest (after spending her childhood in Minnesota) along with its natural opportunity for adventures. Her favorite summer days are spent taking vacations throughout our beautiful state with her family.
One thing you should know about Heather is she loves to laugh and therefore she really appreciates a good sense of humor. She loves watching sports, and lastly, although she is a numbers gal – she is amazingly creative and enjoys crafts.
Maria Cheadle - Admin Support
Maria joined the AOET~USA/Operation One team in 2015. She has worked as a finance manager for non-profits for the past 15 years and holds a degree in marketing. She is honored to be part of an organization that is Christ-centered and has a passion for children.
Maria has put her energy toward raising her 3 boys who were very active in sports and she has run several fundraisers, auctions, and community events surrounding her son’s activities, along with her husband Jim of 26 years. With them now all in college, she found herself wanting to give her extra time to an organization that embraces both her love for children and Christ.
Three things you should know about Maria is that she loves the outdoors and being active, cherishes family, and would love to travel to Italy with her family to visit her roots.
Jerel Skeith - Director of Development
Jerel and his wife, Amie lived in India for a couple of years working alongside World Vision India, Anusaran and a Church Planting Network. While living in Nepal, he was planning a trek through the Himalaya’s when they realized they were pregnant. Upon returning to the States they now have 3 amazing kids who bring them much delight and joy.
Being an avid cyclist, Jerel’s favorite word is “domestique.” It was originally a slang word for a less skilled rider; today most “sprinters” who win cycling races have a “domestique.” A “domestique’s” complete role is to be a helper who allows the leader to win.
The most valuable characteristic to Jerel is the value of people and where they will spend eternity. Growing up, Jerel’s Dad would quiz him relentlessly on who are “the two eternals.” God and people.
Be sure to ask Jerel about his name and how he was able to have the most amazing couple weeks connecting to a people group who share his name.
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