Operation Dream Helps Milwaukee’s Disadvantaged Boys

Operation Dream pic

Operation Dream
Image: operation-dream.org

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a bachelor of science in molecular biology, Dr. Mark Wichman went on to become an orthopedic surgeon. Currently practicing with Aurora Advanced Healthcare in Milwaukee, Dr. Mark Wichman is also the president of Operation Dream.

Founded in 2006 for the benefit of young boys who don’t have access to the Boys Club, the YMCA, or other outlets, Operation Dream strives to improve the lives of these mostly minority male youth in the poorest communities of Milwaukee. These boys face some of the most daunting challenges in America today, since nearly 60 percent won’t finish high school. The lack of education statistically leads to unemployment, crime, and eventually prison.

On Saturdays, Operation Dream offers a “sanctuary,” where the boys can escape the streets and learn how to resist the temptations of crime-ridden neighborhoods and, aspiring to a better future, start on a path to realize their dreams. To that end, Operation Dream furnishes a structured environment consisting of four essential pillars:

-Academic achievement
-Work training
-Family and community
-Health and fitness

Operation Dream Creates Opportunities for Young Milwaukee Men

Operation Dream pic

Operation Dream
Image: operation-dream.org

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.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery Hosts Annual Meeting


Dr. Mark Wichman – Chairman of Operation Dream

Operation Dream pic

Operation Dream
Image: operation-dream.org

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Wichman divides his time among four medical facilities in the Greater Milwaukee area; he also provides medical care for the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team and teaches for Marquette University’s Physician Assistant training program. Outside of his busy professional life, Dr. Mark Wichman makes time to give back to the community as chairman of Operation Dream.

Founded in 2006, Operation Dream provides personalized support and mentoring to minority youth in poverty-stricken communities of Milwaukee. Geared primarily towards boys, Operation Dream aims to keep young men off the streets. Its programs operate throughout the year and offer transportation, athletic opportunities, academic support, monthly field trips, and work-skills training. Once the school year ends, Operation Dream continues, providing additional educational programs, mentoring, college tours, and recreational activities.

Operation Dream’s programs have proven effective. While nearly three out of five at-risk Milwaukee youth drop out of school, as of October 21, 2016, 100 percent of seniors involved with Operation Dream’s Operation WORK program graduated from high school after four years.

Dr. Mark Wichman – PADI Certified Scuba Diver

PADI Certified pic

PADI Certified
Image: padi.com

Dr. Mark Wichman is an orthopedic surgeon who is affiliated with several hospitals, works as assistant professor at Marquette University, and serves as the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team’s physician. In his spare time, Dr. Mark Wichman enjoys outdoor activities, including wind-surfing, camping, and fishing; he is also a PADI-certified scuba diver.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) focuses its certification program on developing divers’ skills in stages, allowing them to advance at their own pace. PADI certification is the stepping stone to Open Water Diver certification. Training to be a PADI-certified scuba diver consists of online educational development as well as confined and open water dives.

Once certified, a PADI scuba diver is competent to conduct supervised dives of up to 40 feet, accompanied by a PADI professional; lease or buy equipment to participate in supervised dives; and work towards the achievement of Open Water Diver certification. PADI certification is available through over 6,300 PADI dive centers around the world.