Fellowship Program To Welcome Reserve and National Guard

August 7, 2017

The Mission Continues Fellowship Program is launching a new pilot initiative this January, welcoming serving members of the Reserves and National Guard to the ranks. Eligibility for the fellowship program has previously been limited to retired and separated veterans of the United States Military. Recognizing the potential for the fellowship to support and empower current service members in the Guard and Reserve, the fellowship program will accept applications from qualified applicants for our Alpha 2018 Fellowship Class. The application for this class is now open.

Catching the Rain: Local Veterans Protect Hawaii’s Water

August 4, 2017

A delicate breeze. A glistening ocean. A beaming sun.

To most Americans, this is our picture of Hawaii. What we don’t picture is all the effort by its residents to keep the islands as beautiful as we imagine they are. But as inhabitants and stewards, it is clear to local Hawaiians that a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle is the best for the islands and future generations of residents.

Christina Finley, Platoon Leader for the Honolulu 1st Service Platoon is on a mission to protect Hawaii’s water. Luckily, she’s not alone — other organizations like Plastic Free Hawaii, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and Clean Water Hawaii all share the same vision. Meeting with them, as she said, inspired her “to help with all that they do to protect the waters of Hawaii. My vision is to lend a helping hand with these projects and assist in the solution of these problems.”

Celebrating 10 Years of Service

August 1, 2017

For ten years, veterans clad in Mission Continues blue have reconnected to their communities through continued service. Together, we’ve built relationships with local communities and nonprofits in cities across the country, connecting veterans with sustainable service opportunities. All of this is driven by our strong conviction that veterans are assets who, at the core of their identity, want to make a positive impact on their country. This month, in honor of our ten-year anniversary, we wanted to take a look back at the last ten years.

We’ve come a long way since our founding. In the first year, three veterans participated in our programs, while today, thousands of veterans across generations have joined with us to serve in their communities as part of a successful transition home. Our mission, logo, staff, and programs have all evolved in our effort to best support our family of veterans and the communities in which they serve.

The Mission Continues has awarded more than 2,000 fellowships and launched more than 70 service platoons in over 20 major metro areas nationwide. Together, these veteran volunteers have contributed more than 1,000,000 hours of service to their communities to address entrenched challenges including improving community health and wellbeing, increasing access to gardens and greenspaces, and enhancing educational facilities for learning and recreation.

Operation Westside Surge: What Was Our Impact?

July 28, 2017

One month ago we brought 70+ veterans to Atlanta’s Westside for a week of service. Today we release our full Impact Report. These veterans from all over the country answered the call to serve again, this time with a different uniform, The Mission Continues uniform.

This week of service, which we call Mass Deployment, brings us to a different city each year, one where we have been working directly with local nonprofits and their communities. We listen to their mission and goals, ask them what they need, and figure out how we can deliver.

Most of the crew had never gone on a Mass Deployment with us before, and some hadn’t even heard of us before this. Luckily for them, we had 10 Ambassadors — veteran volunteers who had been to our previous Mass Deployment a year prior — join us to lead teams during projects and be a general resource for newcomers throughout the week.

Run Free Run: USMC Captain Runs Coast to Coast in 100 Days for Veterans

July 20, 2017
Maggie Seymour, Grassroots Supporter

One Marine. Coast to Coast. 100 Days.

I, a U.S. Marine Corps Captain transitioning to the Reserves, am an avid ultra-runner on a mission. On July 22, I’ll embark on a 3,300 mile journey across the United States to give back and raise awareness for the communities that have supported me during my time in the U.S. Marine Corps.

I’m a small-town Midwestern girl at heart who believes in the power of hard work, education, community, and carbs (if I stop by your town be sure to grab me a slice of pizza). Over the past 10 years I have worked closely with the veteran, gold star families, and special needs athletes communities. This run is for them.

Charlie Class 2017: Kicking Off A New Path of Service with Sports for Youth

July 14, 2017

Today we welcome 96 fellows and 14 platoon leaders of Charlie Class 2017 to a weekend of Orientation in Boston. We will be joining forces with the Boston 1st Platoon to help them kick off a new mission in the Dorchester area. These fellows and platoon leaders are veterans who have committed to serving their country again, this time in a different way. They have decided to use their leadership, discipline, and teamwork skills to combat homelessness, climate change, childhood poverty, and many other challenges we face here on the home front.

Our fellows will be embedding with local nonprofits in their cities for six months, while our platoon leaders will be leading groups of veterans to complete service projects to support places like nonprofits in underserved neighborhoods, national parks, urban gardens, and public schools.

The Boston 1st Service Platoon, a group of dedicated volunteers, have identified Dorchester as the best place to focus their efforts. Dorchester is Boston’s largest and most ethnically diverse neighborhood, as it is home to large Irish, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean communities. Dorchester has the second highest rate of child poverty in the Boston area, coming in at 39.2 percent, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. In addition, the Boston Police report that a few Dorchester neighborhoods are gang “hotspots.”

City Impact Manager Stephanie Grimes said that the platoon’s goal in Boston is “to expand athletic, nutrition and academic programming available to community members.” With this in mind, she found a partner in a nonprofit called All Dorchester Sports & Leadership.

Mass Deployment: “Just another op? I thought so, until it wasn’t”

July 6, 2017
Peggy Schnack, Fellow Alum

Not long after our Mass Deployment to Atlanta, the impact of their weeklong service intensive was apparent to our crew of volunteers. One crew member, Peggy Schnack, shared through our Operation Westside Surge Facebook group a poem about this experience and the impact volunteering has had on her life. Today on the blog we share that poem with our entire Mission Continues family.

I was in a dark place.

A place of despair.

I did not eat

exercise

talk.

2016 Annual Report

July 3, 2017

Volunteers from our New York Service Platoon on September 11, 2016.

Our 2016 Annual Report puts a spotlight on the veterans, supporters, and partners who answered the call to “report for duty” in their community this past year. More than 300 Mission Continues Fellows and thousands of volunteers at more than 700 service projects contributed nearly 200,000 hours of community service nationwide.

Their collective impact was made possible by a community of supporters ranging from the Fortune 500 to grassroots fundraisers. Their support created new opportunities for our team to advance a brand new program and launch a new summit to support women veterans.

In this Turbulent Time, This Is as Grassroots as I Can Get

June 30, 2017
By Shannon Doty, Platoon Leader

When I took over the Minneapolis 1st Platoon as Platoon Leader last summer, our future was uncertain, but my vision was not.

Shortly before I took over as the Minneapolis Platoon Leader there was a police involved shooting of a man named Philando Castile, a St. Paul resident. His death became national news when his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the aftermath on Facebook, and it was watched by thousands of people within 24 hours.  His murder sparked protests throughout the Twin Cities, and finally forced many in my home to confront the very real fact that while we are progressive in many ways, Minnesota is segregated and a very difficult place for many minorities to live.

I choose to focus my anger, confusion and frustration with a system that was once again failing so many of its citizens, on positive engagement for the future.  I wanted to focus on the long term, how to be a part of the healing of the community in any way I could.  I had the privilege to be able to choose how I approached the aftermath of the death of Philando, and I never forgot that.

In My Service Platoon, I Can See the Impact I Have Is Real

June 20, 2017
By Majken Geiman, Platoon Leader

When people ask me why I joined the Army, I usually talk about my desire to serve, wanting to challenge myself, and the satisfaction and pride that I feel being able to help my soldiers learn new skills and develop as leaders. I could gush for hours about happy I am that I signed on the dotted line at 17 years old. It would all