Who Do I Want to Be? Finding My Identity After the Military

October 22, 2016
By Ian McCall, Fellow Alum


In recognition of his perseverance and dedication to service in the face of overwhelming adversity, Ian McCall received the Mark Weber Award at this year’s Delta Orientation. Through his fellowship, Ian launched a campaign for women’s empowerment which has grown exponentially through his efforts. He wrote children’s books to empower young girls, which was well received and supported by his community. But his six months as a Fellow were met

What’s New with the Los Angeles Office?

October 19, 2016

Two more team members have joined The Mission Continues family in Los Angeles! We are pleased to welcome Emily Hummel and Nestor Ramirez, who will be greatly increasing the capacity for our Communications and Research and Evaluation teams, respectively. Both Emily and Nestor will help our organization on a national level — you’ll be able to see their hard work reflected in our social media, impact reporting, and improvements in our programs.


Where do you come from and what

The Mission Continues 2015 Annual Report

October 15, 2016


Thousands of veterans are answering this new call to serve. By serving, they are finding purpose in their own lives, while pursuing significant impact in their community. In our 2015 annual report, available here, you’ll find stories of veterans overcoming challenges and of the neighborhoods and cities that are now stronger because of their continued service.

Mission Continues Fellows and Service Platoons combined for nearly 200,000 hours of volunteer service in 2015. Fellows deployed to more than 300 nonprofit and community organizations nationwide including Horses4Heroes in Las Vegas, Headstrong Project in New York City, and the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia.

Furthermore, 62 total Service Platoons were launched by the end of 2015 focused on community issues as broad as school revitalizations, mentorship of at-risk kids, eliminating food deserts, bringing arts and culture to disadvantaged neighborhoods, and the restoration of our parks.

We also took strides in 2015 to help ensure the health and wellbeing of the organization. The Mission Continues received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest score available, in 2015 when assessed by measures of “Financial Health” and “Accountability and Transparency.”


And there is still much to do in the final months of 2016.

An Update: How I’m Working Toward My Mission

October 14, 2016
By Vince Loran, Fellow


As a Bravo 2016 Fellow, I’m doing so many things right now that it’s hard to keep track sometimes! But I wanted to share an update on what I’m doing and where I’m going — and most importantly, why I’m doing it. I serve on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization, Fifty Shades of Purple against Bullying. I’m also volunteering as a Wounded Warrior Project Peer Support Group facilitator in Northern Virginia. I’m also a Fellow, volunteering at the United Way. But to understand all the things I am doing now, I need to give you a glimpse of the person I have become.

Meet Our Newest Executive Director, Tony Arendt

October 8, 2016

We recently welcomed Tony Arendt to the Mission Continues family as our Midwest Executive Director. Tony will be spearheading our plans for building local relationships and making a sustainable impact in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and more. Hopefully you’ll get to meet Tony yourself, but in the meantime, here’s a brief introduction.

Making a Mural for My Community and for Myself

October 6, 2016
By Aaron Skapik, Fellow


I see art as a valuable tool for anyone to express ideas, create conversations, and heal. For veterans, art can change their life by giving them a sense of purpose, giving them a platform to say something about their time in the military, and to heal through the therapeutic properties of art.

Two semesters ago the art department at Pittsburg State University offered a mural painting class. Having been inspired by murals I’ve seen of artists like Thomas Hart Benton and Michelangelo, as well as the murals near Route 66 close to where I live, I jumped at the opportunity to learn such fascinating craft.

After the class I was so inspired that I came home, took out a pad of sticky-notes and began writing down goals and giving myself small challenges to get me out of my comfort zone. At that point I had been ready to drop out of school and see if I could make it as an artist by selling my artwork. But the mural class made me stay. I decided to change my degree program from Art Education to General Studies and finish school by building a degree that would allow me to be an artist and give back to my community.

How Did You Come to Work at The Mission Continues?

September 29, 2016
By Chris Randall, Fellowship Program Specialist


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


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


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.