Operation Hero

Teaching your military child about their important role in their military family and building resiliency, responsibility and lasting friendships

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Free After School Enrichment Program for Military Children

Military children can bear a tremendous amount of stress related to frequent moves, parental deployment, and trauma should a parent be wounded or killed. Oftentimes, 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.

Operation Hero is a FREE after-school program tailored to the unique struggles of military children. The program addresses topics specifically relevant to the military child and provides tools and coping strategies as well as opportunities to connect with other military children with similar challenges.

Operation Hero Overview

Being a military child often comes with a unique set of obstacles; Operation Hero helps students gain a better understanding and respect for their parent's sacrifice and service while learning more about their essential role in their military family. This FREE nine-week program is offered both virtually, and in select local schools and military installations. The session concludes with a graduation ceremony and family celebration for all participants.

Florence Bowser Elementary

The Armed Services YMCA is delighted to bring OPERATION HERO to Florence Bowser Elementary! This winter session will meet every Monday and Wednesday, 3:40-5:30 PM beginning MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2024

Register Here!

Three Oaks Elementary

WE are SO EXCITED to bring OPERATION HERO to Three Oaks Elementary School! Students will meet twice each week for the 9-week session right here at Three Oaks. Sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30-5:00 PM beginning TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2024!

Register Here!


NEW! Attention Active-Duty Military Families who homeschool their kiddos! OPERATION HERO sessions will soon be offered during the day, 9:00-11:00 am, M/W OR T/Th at our academy in Virginia Beach. WATCH for details! Sessions will begin in January!

"I thought Operation Hero was just some afterschool thing, but it ended up being a life lessons class for me! I learned how to use coping skills, like going for a walk, talking with a friend about how I'm feeling, riding my bike or petting my dogs. Op Hero has helped me learn new techniques about how to deal with the way I am feeling and I've been able to share them with my friends at school!" Cambria, Operation Hero Student

Frequently Asked Questions

The program is designed to help military kids (grades 2-5) understand their own unique role in their active-duty military family and provides coping strategies, hands-on crafts, and facilitator-guided discussions.

The Armed Services YMCA of Hampton Roads works with local public schools to facilitate OPERATION HERO, a nine-week, afterschool enrichment program specially designed for students in grades 2 through 5 from active-duty military families.

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 in their home schools, to 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. Encouraging students’ academic performance, as well as greater self-esteem and positive interactions with peers and family are core objectives for OPERATION HERO.

No!  Each participating student is provided with an “Op Guide” to help navigate the program, as well as nutritious snacks and all materials and supplies to complete the hands-on activities and crafts for weekly lessons.


As a culminating activity, parents, families, and teachers are invited to a graduation ceremony and reception to celebrate their Op Heroes’ many accomplishments.