Operation Hero

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At the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska, we work to develop programs that nurture and strengthen our military children. We know the challenges that these children face: frequent moves make it difficult for children to form lasting bonds with friends and erode the continuity of their education; deployments can weaken family bonds and leave children fearing for the safety of a parent serving in a theater of war. Giving military children the tools they need to cope helps them to build better relationships and succeed in school.

Operation Hero works with local schools to help identify at-risk military children, and provide them with the support, skills, and resources they need to adapt and succeed in the military lifestyle.

This is the story of Brandon. Brandon’s family had recently been moved to JBER. Before his family could fully settle in and start their new life in Alaska, Brandon’s mom was deployed. Brandon felt deeply isolated from the other children in his school, and had trouble making friends that he knew he would have to leave behind again. His anxiety affected his grades, as well. Brandon went from a solid B average to failing many of his classes. Brandon’s anxiety and isolation caused him to frequently act out during class. Brandon’s teacher had heard about the ASYMCA’s Operation Hero Program and suggested to his father that he be enrolled in the program. As part of Operation Hero, Brandon got to meet other kids that have military parents and have to move a lot too. Meeting other children that shared common ground with him allowed him to make friends that understood his lifestyle. With the help of tutors and mentors, Brandon was able to catch up with his studies and adjust to the different pace of the curriculum in his new school, returning him to the B student he had always been. Brandon was also taught coping skills to help him deal with his anxiety. At home, his father noticed the change; Brandon was more balanced and at peace—and was more apt to seek out time with his father. The tools provided by Operation Hero helped Brandon to succeed as a military child—he created strong bonds with his peer, teachers, and family that helped him to cope with his problems.

The ASYMCA recognizes that when a parent is deployed, the whole family is affected. We also understand that the deployed parent’s success while serving in a theater of war is reliant on the piece of mind that comes with knowing that their family is doing well and being well taken care of at home. In addition we understand that the success of the whole family is interdependent on one another, as well as a strong supporting community. That is why we feel that Operation Hero is a necessary component of making our military and their families’ lives easier. With over 100 hundred military children per year given the tools they need to succeed through Operation Hero, we are confident that are helping to create a stable foundation for military children to thrive.

Be Involved with the Alaska Armed Services YMCA

The Armed Services Y provides free or low-cost youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility programs for junior enlisted military & their families to make military life easier.

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