Armed Services YMCA logo; Strengthening Our Military Family

Strengthening Our Military FamilyTM

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Operation Hero

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Operation Hero is a no-cost after-school program tailored to the unique struggles of military children. The program is designed to help military kids in grades 2-8 get back on track in school and at home.

Children are referred to the program by school personnel and/or the child’s parents. When children enroll in Operation Hero, they work within a team to navigate through the 10-week course.

A trained professional, specializing in military youth oversees each Operation Hero session. The facilitator leads children in group discussions about who they are and how they fit in at home and school. They discuss how to manage feelings, friendships, and conflict. The sessions also include a period of homework assistance in areas identified by their classroom teacher, snack time, and an activity supporting the theme of the week.

Children 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. 

As a general philosophy, Armed Services YMCA 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 Armed Services YMCA 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.

Thanks to the JCPenney Foundation for their generous donation to support Operation Hero from Armed Services Fort Bragg:

Program Description:

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· Operation Hero provides a fun, safe place for military children to learn and develop the same character development tools that the military teaches their parents.

· Operation Hero is unique in that it addresses topics specifically relevant to the military child and their experience.

· Our program’s three-component system breaks up the learning process so that students easily digest information through homework assistance, outdoor activities, and classroom lesson plans.

· The program provides tools (e.g. Operation Hero’s innovative homework app) and opportunities for military children to adjust positively to the hardships of a military lifestyle.

· Operation Hero creates hope and highlights the positives that military life presents, shifting a potentially negative stigma to an empowering one.