For more than two decades, Dr. Mark Wichman has worked as an orthopedic surgeon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He works out of Aurora Advanced Orthopaedics, and also serves as assistant professor at Marquette University. Dedicated to giving back to his community, Dr. Mark Wichman serves as president of Operation Dream.
Founded in 2006, Operation Dream seeks to keep at-risk young men off the streets in and around Milwaukee. It operates much like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, except that many of the young men participating in Operation Dream lack the funds and transportation to partake in these and similar organizations. Operation Dream bridges that gap, providing a safe haven and keeping youth off the street. The boys and young men meet at the Milwaukee site on Saturdays, and Operation Dream provides them with transportation.
One of the facets of Operation Dream is a relatively new program called Operation Work. Mentors show up at the mentees’ homes early every Saturday morning and take those they are mentoring for breakfast. These mentees spend the rest of the day in counseling and tutoring sessions and being exposed to various work situations. As of October 2016, 91 people have completed this program. Thanks to this initiative, 100 percent of Operation Work members have graduated high school, compared to 49 percent of their peers who attended Milwaukee’s public schools. In addition, 94 percent of Operation Work members avoided criminal activity.