Operation Hero is an after school program designed to help school age (ages 6 to 12) military children improve academically and socially. The challenges of military life can be especially hard on children who are forced to leave friends behind and start over at a new school due to a new set of military orders. They often feel disenfranchised within their own family and respond poorly to the instability caused by frequent moves, family disruption due to deployments, increased parental stress, and direct and indirect trauma associated with the wounds of war.
Referred by teachers, parents or school officials, the program provides after school and mentoring assistance in small groups with certified teachers. This early intervention program runs for three quarterly after school sessions across the school year and can extend into a summer session known as Camp Hero. Operation Hero facilitates a positive environment, encourages responsible behavior and gets children back on track in school and life.
As a general philosophy, the ASYMCA works closely with military installation commanders to identify gaps in social services, then tailors programming to meet the specific needs of military troops and their families in the communities ASYMCA serves. One of the greatest needs military installation Commanding Officers consistently identify is the need for programs designed to help military children adjust to the unique challenges associated with military life and loss of life.
Children between ages 6-12 years bear a tremendous amount of stress related to frequent moves, parental deployment, and trauma resulting from the wounding or loss of a mother or father. Every parent that deploys in support of our country’s defense is different upon his or her return. Operation Hero provides a safe, after school environment where these children can express their emotions, receive academic and emotional support, and connect with peers who are experiencing the same challenges. School officials, teachers, or parents refer children to the program when they notice a child who is socially struggling or who is beginning to show a decline in school performance.
With thanks to the JCPenney Foundation for their generous donation to support Operation Hero from ASYMCA Fort Bragg: