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Operation Hero

Operation Hero After-School Program

Operation Hero is a free after-school program for military children in grades 2-8, designed to help students cope and adjust to the unique challenges of military life, such as frequent moves and deployment separation.

Program Overview

Trained facilitators for Operation Hero create a fun and safe environment for students to express their feelings, receive academic and emotional health support, and connect with peers experiencing the same challenges.

HubSpot Video

Video courtesy of ASYMCA Hampton Roads.


During the 10-week program, Operation Hero focuses on a different topic for character development, reinforced through interactive methods including journaling, art and other independent and group activities.

Topics include:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Feelings and Caring
  • Deployments and Family Separations
  • Problem Solving and Teamwork
  • Friends and Family
  • Bullying Prevention

Students are referred to the program by school personnel and/or a parent, and they receive tools to participate, including an innovative app to help with completing homework.


Children ages 6-12 can bear a tremendous amount of stress related to frequent moves, parental deployment and trauma should a parent be wounded or killed. Often times, military spouses are dealing with similar emotions and may not know how to address their child's attitudes and behaviors that may be hindering progress at school and at home.

“After Operation Hero I was cool, skilled, strong and smart.” – military child participant

“My son is behaving better due to being in this program. His confidence level has skyrocketed. This program has helped him become more kind to others. He has learned how to cope with his emotions while his dad has been gone weeks at a time.” military parent


Many of the ASYMCA locations offer Operation Hero. Find your local branch.


The Armed Services YMCA is committed to providing this important, life-skills and character development after-school program to more children at more locations nationwide. For just $400, help us invest in the emotional health and well-being of a military child. Donate now.