Strengthening Our Military Family® | Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads

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The Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads works with local public schools to facilitate OPERATION HERO, an eight-week, afterschool enrichment program designed for students in grades 2 through 5 from active-duty military families. Military life provides so many wonderful opportunities, but it also has its unique challenges. We understand.

Through high-interest, interactive lessons, trained facilitators (many dependents, spouses, active-duty service members or veterans) help students learn the importance of what their military parent does and the personal sacrifices they make to keep our country safe. While gaining a deeper understanding and respect for their parents’ demanding service, they come to realize their essential role in their military family.

Students meet twice each week and focus on relevant topics using FUN, engaging, and hands-on lessons and activities. Topics include:

  • Identity and Self-Esteem
  • Respect and Honor
  • Responsibility, Honesty & Integrity
  • Empathy & Being a Good Friend
  • Coping with Deployments, Change & Big Feelings
  • Bullying, Differences & Self Acceptance
  • Problem Solving & Teamwork
  • I Am an Op Hero!

Curriculum-based lessons and team-building activities with peers who share similar life experiences help to strengthen students’ character and leadership skills and increase their resilience enabling them to reach their full potential. The program helps students to manage their feelings and conflicts and develop friendships while emphasizing respect, responsibilities, honesty, and problem-solving. Enhancing students’ academic performance, as well as encouraging greater self-esteem and positive interactions with peers and family are core objectives for Operation Hero.

As a culminating activity, family, friends, and school staff are invited to a graduation ceremony to celebrate our youngest heroes' accomplishments.

What is the DAILY SCHEDULE for Op Heroes?

Students report to their OpHero Classroom at dismissal.* Once they put their things away, students

  • Sign-In
  • Enjoy Snack & Conversation with Friends
  • Participate in Outdoor Play and Team-Building Activities
  • Complete Lessons and Interactive Games/OpChats
  • Use Homework and Silent Reading Time
  • WRAP-UP and Dismissal (Parent Pick-Up)*
    *Times vary by school

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"People need to stay positive a lot more because it helps all of us feel good about ourselves and each other. Everybody has a story and comes from a different place with different experiences. We need to be there for one another."

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This 8-Week virtual adaptation of our in-person program takes place in our Google Classroom. Virtual OP HERO pairs a caring adult mentor with a small group of school-aged students to foster connection and growth. OpGuides and all materials and supplies are provided for participants, and mentors assist students throughout the week with interactive video lessons and encourage them to complete assignments.

Mentor-facilitated groups meet online each THURSDAY and FRIDAY AFTERNOON, 4:15-5:15 PM, for FUN and INTEREST-DRIVEN OpChats. Students will participate in conversation with friends, share their weekly activities/projects, play interactive games and have plenty of time for social connection.

This program is FREE and open to all ACTIVE-DUTY military dependents in grades 2-5 who have not previously participated in this program. Parents must submit an application to enroll.

**Registration is closed. VIRTUAL Op Hero is not currently being offered. Please check back!**

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"Operation Hero has changed my son's life in such a short period of time. Being a part of Operation Hero has been a wonderful experience."




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