Operation Go: Afterschool program teaches kids new skills with positive affirmations

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – A new after-school program in Rochester aims to teach kids new skills… ones they don’t necessarily learn in school. But what makes ‘Operation Go’ different is not just the skills they teach, but also the transformational mindset they teach.

Operation Go founder Justin Ortiz, who originally launched the program in 2012 as “Generation Outreach”, describes the program as “essentially teaching kids a trade and a career at an early age”.

But these are trades of today. This year, in a ten-week program, they are tackling one class per week. This go-around is sneaker design, app development, video production, music production, graphic and clothing design.

“(These are) things that kids are interested in, but don’t have a platform to create,” Ortiz said.

At the end of the ten weeks of lessons, each student leaves with a tangible product that he has created – And even an e-commerce platform for some. This kind of experience is something Professor Rashad Scott wished he had when he was young.

“I only started doing video production three years ago and I’ve come a long way now, where I teach students, but if I had been their age to start video production,” Scott said. . “Who knows where I might be now?”

And now they’re powered by President Obama’s nonprofit — My Brother’s Keeper. Director of Youth Services for Rochester, Dr. Jason Willis.

“It’s really aimed and targeted at young boys and men of color, making sure they have targeted resources, making sure they have vibrant programming,” he said of programming.

Right now, they’re teaching all of this from the ninth floor of the One East Ave building. Before each lesson, they recite a series of affirmations, all intended to encourage positive thinking; and to shift the paradigm from consumers to producers at a young age.

“They have to see it, they have to experience it.” Ortiz said. “Now, for them, it is possible. These things are possible. Before, they had simply never seen him.

Operation Go plans to reach more areas of the city, creating multiple hubs, as well as forming corporate training pipelines for their students.