The Mission of the Armed Services YMCA of Fort Leonard Wood is to develop programs and services that are unique to the challenges of our military families. Some of the more popular programs offered are the Help Me Learn and Help Me Grow preschool classes, Parent and Me Play Morning, and Operation Hero.

Young children growing up in the military have a very unique story. Being in a classroom listening to how much they miss a parent, how many places they have lived, about the friends they’ve left behind, or how long it’s been since they’ve seen a grandparent is heartbreaking. Preschool classes at the ASYMCA not only offer high quality education, but also provides a safe place for children to talk about their life with other kids experiencing the same thing.

Young parents trying to navigate parenthood, frequent moves, and military life need extra support. Often times they are moving to unfamiliar areas where they do not even know where the closest grocery store is. Military families are very quick to help each other out, but first they need a place to gather. Meet-up groups, like Parent and Me Play Morning, provides a place for parents to talk while their children interact with each other. Bonding with other parents makes being a military spouse much more manageable.

This generation of children are all too familiar with the effects of war on their family. Elementary age children often experience the burden of frequent deployments and all the stress that comes with it. Sometimes these children begin struggling in school, but with the help of their teachers, counselors, and Operation Hero staff, they quickly learn strategies on how to cope with their unique challenges. Sitting with a group of peers who are also struggling shows these students that they are not alone and gives them to tools they need to handle it.

Every program offered at the ASYMCA of Fort Leonard Wood is centered on the needs of our community. Whether it be the need for a basketball league, a customized quilt for the child of deployed parent, or help buying Christmas gifts for their children, we strive daily to make life easier for our military families.