How Did You Come to Work at The Mission Continues?

September 29, 2016
By Chris Randall, Fellowship Program Specialist

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Why I Wanted to Serve

From the time I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to be a Marine. Growing up in North St. Louis, my father was my role model – a standout in a tough neighborhood. He was determined to not let anything, let alone age requirements, get in his way. He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 15 — before he could drive, vote or buy a beer — and served during the Korean War.

I wasn’t exactly a great student as a kid, but I was dedicated in other ways, and most important, I was dedicated to my dream. More than anything, I wanted to be part of the military like my father. So I started early. I joined the Young Marines Program when I was 8 years old, and attend Cleveland Jr. Naval Academy in St. Louis for high school.

In many ways, just like my father, I didn’t want to waste any time. I felt ready, more than ready, to achieve my dream as soon as possible, so much so that I made sure to graduate high school ahead of schedule so I could enlist at the age of 17.

Everybody Wins When Nonprofits Partner

September 22, 2016
By Jessica Herring, Fellow Alum

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How My Story Began

It was February of 2003 when I learned my first trip to see the world would be to a giant sandbox, and unfortunately it wouldn’t be to build sandcastles. I had joined the military partially to see the world, and partially to continue my family legacy of service. I was in basic training when the attacks of 9/11 occurred. It was then that

A “Salute From The Chief”

September 14, 2016

closing-ceremony-mission-continuesSpencer Kympton, center, addresses Charlie Class 2014 Fellows at their orientation in Los Angeles.

General Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, will recognize Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues, with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his leadership of the national nonprofit organization and dedication to supporting our veterans and military families. The award is the third-highest public service honor the Army can bestow upon a civilian.

The Mission Continues is a national non-profit that connects veterans to opportunities to serve again—here at home. It’s a unique model that empowers veterans to build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve.

Since taking helm of the organization as president in 2014, Kympton—an US Army veteran—has seen The Mission Continues continue its growth in scale and impact with nearly 10,000 veterans participating in community service across the country. Operations in cities nationwide now deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities. More than 60 teams of veterans and community volunteers have mobilized across the country through our Service Platoon Program, and thousands more have been engaged to date through the The Mission Continues Fellowship Program.

The Decision I Made, 15 Years Ago Today

September 11, 2016
By Brandi Peasley

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I vividly remember the day I left active duty. It was October 1999 and I’d completed my 5-year commitment in the United States Army after graduating from West Point. I signed the paperwork to switch to a Reserve commission and assume my placement into the Individual Ready Reserve. At the time, I thought it was odd how much it bothered me to take off the uniform but I was very determined to go find success out in the civilian world.

For Veterans, Their Mission Continues in National Parks

September 8, 2016
By Rose Feroah, Platoon Member

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With a September’s breeze on this late summer night, we will soon be reminded of sacrifice and service.  It is in this honor and service that we will be at Fort Battery Ricketts—Mile Marker Zero of the Hiker Biker Trail-, all hands on deck, doing what we do best.  Having worked along the Trail throughout Southeast DC, we are going to hold

Retreating, Remembering, and Reconnecting to Flight 93

September 6, 2016
By Vu Nguyen, City Impact Manager

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I’ve witnessed the platoon program’s tremendous growth over the past three years. I quickly realized that there was an innate feeling to the entire platoons movement. It was grassroots. It was experimental.

The Unexpected Outcomes of Hitting the Trails

August 30, 2016
By Vanessa Davids, Fellow

When I left the Marine Corps, I had my future all laid out. I had big plans for returning to school, having a second child, and supporting my (then) husband’s transition from the military had me feeling like I knew where I was going. Until I didn’t. When my husband became abusive, and I was forced to finally make a choice, I had no idea where my new path would lead. All I knew was that I couldn’t stay a minute longer.

From Feeling Lost to Building Homes and Running Miles

August 23, 2016
By Peggy Schnack, Fellow

7CF7374A-761E-4DDA-84DB-7FBC8A6E98A4Peggy (right) arrives at the Charlie Class 2016 Orientation service project on July 23, 2016 in Minneapolis.

Peggy Schnack is an Air Force veteran, a 2016 Charlie Class Fellow serving with Habitat for Humanity, and will run the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) with Team Mission Continues on October 30, 2016.

As I sit here watching the Olympic Games, contemplating what The Mission Continues means to me, I realize that like the Olympics, Mission Continues brings diverse people together to achieve things that they may not have thought possible.

A year ago I did not know what I was doing or where I was headed.  I had graduated from seminary, but depression quickly took over my life.  I did not identify with being a veteran or much of anything else.  Part of my healing has come from rediscovering and reconnecting with who I am.  

While I floundered I sought connection and community, but did not know where to find it.  I needed somewhere that it was okay to be broken; where people would not pressure me to be anything I was not feeling up to at the moment but would be there for me when I needed support.  

The Legend of Abner Garcia

August 19, 2016

I want to be remembered as a legend, the person who made a positive difference in people’s lives. – Abner Garcia

AGarciaAbner Garcia, a United States Army veteran and alumnus of The Mission Continues Fellowship Program, was shot and killed on Saturday, August 13, 2016, a mile from his home in southwest Chicago. He was 23 years old.

Abner joined The Mission Continues just over a year ago as a member of our 2015 Charlie Class. Our team asks each veteran entering the program where he or she would like to serve the fellowship. For Abner, the choice was an organization that bridged his experiences as a veteran and as a child of Chicago.

Urban Warriors, a program of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative, pairs military veterans with urban youth in mentor-based relationships. The program is built on a mutual understanding of trauma and perseverance, and empowers participants to take positive action in their communities.

The Mission Continues Reaffirms Commitment as Non-Partisan Organization

August 17, 2016

The Mission Continues empowers military veterans who are adjusting to life at home find purpose through community impact. That is our sole purpose. We were founded nearly 10 years ago as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization. Everything we do is designed to help veterans build new connections while making a positive difference in their communities.

“We are proud to be backed by a diversity of supporters who are united in their belief that veterans are leaders with much more to give to help make our country great,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “We work to help veterans and underserved communities– not political parties or candidates.”