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2022 Race for the Space Finalists

Darcel Pledge with ExCel Childcare Services

Darcel Pledge
ExCel Childcare Services

ExCel Childcare Services is owned and operated by Darcel Pledge. ExCel is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and aims to provide quality childcare blended with an authentic educational experience for all students. Our mission is to promote and foster developmental growth for each child in the areas of childhood literacy and social-emotional behavioral skills. We center our work on building healthy relationships amongst our students, families, staff, and community. We pride ourselves on providing social-emotional awareness, project-based learning, mental health services for staff, students, and families, and developing community partnerships to help our youth engage in employment opportunities to prepare them for the real world. Along with helping prepare our children to be developmentally ready as they enter the educational world full-time to be future ready productive learners and citizens as they move forward in life. We look forward to not being your ordinary childcare center and encourage you to look into how our vision aligns with your family’s need and desire for your child’s care!

Darryl English with WeDream Cyber Café

Darryl English
WeDream Cyber Café 

WeDream Cyber Café is an internet and gaming café that focuses on providing an environment where gamers can meet, play games, and enjoy themselves. Our focus is to provide e-sport team-based events, cyber security educational classes, and technical project-based learning. WeDream Cyber Café is a technology-based option for after-school programs and community outreach events.

WeDream Cyber Café will provide a safe environment for children to learn about computers, coding, and technology in general. Teaching kids how to use technology is important, but it’s also important to give them a safe place to do it. WeDream Cyber Café will be a place where kids can come after school and learn about technology, while also having fun. Our community outreach events will introduce them to new technology and teach them how to use it.

Mohamed Nasraddin with The KETO Kitchen

Mohamed Nasraddin
The KETO Kitchen

Mohamed Nasraddin is a rising Sudanese-American entrepreneur in the greater Eastern Iowa area. Mohamed was born in Khartoum, Sudan, and immigrated to the United States as a child with his family to escape conditions of war and pursue the American dream. Since he was a small child, Mohamed has shown a tremendous amount of passion for business. He has shown this ingenuity throughout his life’s work and missions. “The American dream” was actualized for Mohamed when he started his tech/web development companies “TK-Iowa” and “Esper Creations.” As a “tech-geek,” as Mo describes, these endeavors lead to a greater passion for building businesses. Despite his success with his tech/web development companies, Mohamed struggled significantly in his personal life. He was morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and had other health concerns. Mohamed then discovered the “Keto diet”, The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate mainstream dietary therapy that in medicine is used mainly to treat hard-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. He lost 110-120 pounds in the span of 6 months and remarkably reversed his health concerns. He has been on the Keto diet for five years now and feels better than ever. Through his health journey, Mohamed struggled to find places to eat that would accommodate his lifestyle, a lifestyle more and more people are discovering every day with tangible health benefits. As an entrepreneur trained to solve problems, Mohamed opened The KETO Kitchen, a restaurant designed with your health in mind. The KETO Kitchen offers food that accommodates many different lifestyles and diets, including KETO, gluten-free, whole 30, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and low-carb. There are very few restaurants that offer options like these, particularly for those with Celiac disease. It is one of the only restaurants that is completely gluten-free. Mohamed plans to continue to pursue the American dream while helping people live more active, healthy lifestyles.

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