Operation: Military Kids (OMK) is the U.S. Army's collaborative effort with America's communities to support the children and youth impacted by deployment. This initiative was officially launched in April 2005. Since its inception OMK has touched 88,000 military youth and provided information to 21,009 community members across the United States.
The U.S. Coast Guard Training Center is based in Cape May. 85% of the schools enrollment comes from the military families living on the Base. In the Spring of 2009, Cape May City Elementary School and Operation Military Kids formed the OMK-CMCES coalition in order to meet the needs of the military children in the school.
Go to www.operationmilitarykids.org for a full description of OMK.
Operation Military Kids Director, William Sardone, and CMCES Superintendent Victoria Zelenak prepared an awareness workshop for all CMCES staff members including teachers, secretaries, aides, cafeteria workers, and custodians. The purpose of the workshop was to heighten the awareness of employees about children’s emotions when their parent or parents are deployed.
Mrs. Barbara Wong, parent, looks on as teachers listen to a “light moment” during the OMK Awareness Session presented by OMK Director William Sardone to raise the sensitivity of staff members to children whose parents serve in the military and may be deployed.
Timeline of Events for the OMK in Cape May City
- Feb. 2009: William M. Sardone, retired army officer and NJ OMK Director, gave a presentation to the Cape May County Curriculum Consortium about Operation Military Kids.
- Feb. 2009: CMCES Superintendent Victoria Zelenak informed teachers and parents at the school’s T.A.S.K. (Team Advocacy for Our School Kids) about OMK. The emotions from the parents prompted Mrs. Zelenak to invite Mr. Sardone to the next meeting.
- March 2009: Mr. Sardone met with the T.A.S.K. Committee and presented the OMK power point and led a discussion about the need for OMK in the CMCES. Again, the parents voiced an emotional response to this program. They suggested that an OMK Awareness Session be provided to the entire staff of the CMCES.
- Mr. Sardone and U.S. Coast Guard Support Chairperson, Mrs. Barbara Wong, established communication to help Cape May Coast Guard families.
- April 2009: Mr. Sardone gave three presentations so that the entire CMCES staff (teachers, secretaries, aides, custodians) was able to attend the awareness sessions.
- The OMK Team will continue support by participating in the September 2, 2009 School Orientation for the New Children. They will also engage the local 4H which is one of the OMK partners
- OMK will hold two “hero pack” ceremonies at CMCES during the 09-10 school season for children who have deployed parent(s).
- The OMK team has committed resources to bring this program to high school students with the goal of utilizing their experiences to assist some of the younger children in the area who are experiencing the difficulties of parent/friend separations.