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

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
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

A Fireside Chat With Board Member Kristie Cunningham

June 16, 2017

The Mission Continues recently welcomed Kristie Cunningham, senior vice president of Communications for BAE Systems, Inc., to our Board of Directors. Kristie is responsible for leading all external and internal communications activities for BAE Systems, Inc., which means she’s the perfect fit to help us empower more veterans and strengthen our operations nationwide.

 

Service is at the core of our mission and our programs. How has service and volunteerism been a part of your life?

From an early age, I was raised in a family where giving back was an important aspect of who we were and who we were expected to become. I saw my parents, grandparents and even extended family volunteering in church and other service organizations, always looking to lend a hand to those in need. This front-row seat led me to also volunteer in my church, particularly once I had children of my own, to not only give back but to also set a good example for my kids.

As I progressed in my career, I have served on several boards, from the local Chamber of Commerce to Operation Homefront, and I’ve been able to work for companies that have had a strong belief in the power of employee engagement – not only on the job, but also within the communities in which we lived and worked. BAE Systems is no exception, where I’ve had a number of opportunities over the years to partner with and even volunteer alongside my colleagues in the local community, encourage our employees to actively volunteer in their communities, and also lead our Community Investment team as we focus on supporting our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their families.

I Became a Gladiator for the Environment

June 5, 2017
By David Riera, Fellow

Capitol Hill is like a Roman Colosseum, complete with all the ornate statues, marble surfaces and fountains. Both attract the affluent and impoverished alike, the streets filled with merchants, guards, and citizens waiting to attend the “games.” Who would have ever thought I would find myself participating in these great political games?

I traveled to Washington D.C. with the National Parks Conservation Association to ask Congress to protect our public lands. I visited their home office, a two floor hub filled with everything an environmentalist and champion for the parks could ever hope to have in order to prepare for the lengthy battles ahead.

Operation Westside Surge: Listening to the Voices in Atlanta

June 2, 2017

With our second Mass Deployment just a week away, we wanted to check in with some of our troops based in Atlanta. Just like last year’s Operation Motown Muster, this year’s Operation Westside Surge is built from the bottom up, based on the needs from within the community and local nonprofits. The work that 75+ veterans will be accomplishing is going to give the work already being done a big boost, and help set the service platoon on the path to even greater impact in the Westside.

Perhaps the people most apt to describe what a program like Operation Westside Surge represents someone like Kimia Flournoy. She is a Westside resident, Atlanta 1st Service Platoon member, and current Mission Continues Fellow. As an Atlanta resident, Kimia feels a strong connection to Operation Westside Surge.

“When I first moved to Atlanta, I was in the Westside. I stayed in that area for a couple years, and now I know the in’s and out’s, I know the kids, I know what can be done. Mission Continues is saying, ‘we’re coming to help you do what you’re already doing, but we’re going to give you a boost up, and help you have more pride in your community.’ Once Westside Surge leaves, we will continue to make our community better — I hope we can keep the momentum up.”

Honoring the Fallen in Our Fellowships and Beyond

May 29, 2017

As part of our fellowship program, we invite fellows to dedicate their six months of service to a fallen hero. In honor of Memorial Day, some fellows were willing to share what they wrote — who they are honoring and why. The following is a selection of excerpts from what we received.