The Impact of Operation Watts Is Worth It

September 12, 2018

This summer was FULL of impact, from the Summer Service Slam, Mass Deployment, a jam-packed schedule of service projects throughout the country (rockin’ it, as usual), and a ton of impressive Service Leadership Corps applications. 

Mass Deployment 2018–Operation Watts Is Worth It was a unique service opportunity, and we wanted to share the results with you. See for yourself what veterans accomplished in Watts!

Thank you to all the veterans who stepped up to SERVE AGAIN this summer! Know that you are leading positive change through your commitment to your communities. We can’t wait to see you for our September United In Service campaign!

September 12th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment|

CarMax Cares About Operation Watts Is Worth It

August 7, 2018

A Slice of Life from Operation Watts Is Worth It

Hundreds of gallons of paint covering walls with colorful murals, tools of all kinds shuttling between busy arms, and coolers of donated water and stockpiles of sunscreen keeping volunteers protected in the waning summer sun were all part of a typical scene at this year’s weeklong Mass Deployment.

Called Operation Watts Is Worth It, this year’s Mass Deployment was a community service project of grand proportions, with over 100 veterans serving arm in arm for a week of nonstop service. Veterans along with community partners and sponsors transformed five different project sites across the Watts community in Los Angeles.

All throughout the commotion of each busy project day, our volunteers remained focused on the mission with the support of our trusted partners there serving alongside them.

Partners like CarMax, for the second year in a row, stepped up to support a Mass Deployment. As the 2018 Platinum Sponsor for Operation Watts Is Worth It, CarMax made this opportunity for community impact and connection among our veterans a reality.

Take a look at what this unique service experience was like and the work accomplished with the support of volunteers from local CarMax branches who showed up in force!

August 7th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment|

Why Watts Is Worth It

June 29, 2018
By Regan Turner, West Region Executive Director

The Mission Continues launched our service platoon program in Los Angeles just over four years ago. Since then, we have engaged more than 1,000 local veterans and community members in service with our three service platoons, and have grown our local staff from two remote employees to seven full-time staff in an office in the LA Promise Zone.

It was actually right here in Los Angeles that The Mission Continues piloted our very first “operation,” which has now become our national model for collaboration and community impact.

Thanks to encouragement and introductions made by our friends at Bad Robot and The Wasserman Foundation, we connected with an organization called the Partnership for LA Schools more than three years ago.

The Partnership serves some of LA’s most under-resourced schools in Watts, Boyle Heights and South LA by providing their staff and community with additional resources to improve educational outcomes.

In speaking with the Partnership staff, we realized that they had not just one school in need of renovation work, but an entire portfolio of almost 20 schools that could use the help of The Mission Continues and our veterans.

Since our first project at Stephenson Middle School in 2015, The Mission Continues has performed more than 15 projects at Partnership Schools. We were honored to receive their Community Partner of the Year award in 2016.

Many of those school projects were in Watts, at Markham Middle School, Grape Street Elementary, Gompers Middle School, and 107th Elementary School, among others.

So last year, when The Mission Continues began looking across the country to determine the location of our 2018 Mass Deployment, Los Angeles — specifically Watts — was a natural choice.

June 29th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment, Staff Perspectives|

Meet Your Mass Deployment 2018 Ambassadors

June 18, 2018

Meet the Ambassadors — veterans familiar with the ropes of Mass Deployment — who are going to lead teams of veterans to accomplish all of this impact! Taking on a leadership role involves fostering camaraderie, making sure their team accomplishes their tasks, and embodying what The Mission Continues family is all about.

So let’s see what they’re all about!

June 18th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment|

Help Us Close a $10,000 Gap for Mass Deployment

June 6, 2018 
We’re coming to Los Angeles for our third annual Mass Deployment, Operation Watts Is Worth It (OWW)! Over the course of one week, The Mission Continues will deploy more than 80 military veterans from across the country to join forces and tackle tough challenges in the historic LA neighborhood of Watts.

In Watts, the median household income is $28,465, with 44% of households living below the poverty line, and 49% have no high school diploma or equivalent.

Participants will spend over five intense days of service at a variety of community sites; working alongside community partners, local youth and volunteers to create visible change.

There’s just one problem: we’re roughly $10,000 shy of our fundraising goal. Donate today to help us close our fundraising gap!

June 6th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment|

A 40 Year Journey for Unity in My Childhood Community

February 27, 2018
By Derrick Clark, Platoon Leadership Team Member


As a child growing up in the inner city of Pittsburgh, I was always made aware of the importance of Black History Month. So when February came around, we students knew there was going to be some cool classroom projects, autobiographies, and pictures surrounding the classroom that month for us to learn more about African American culture and Black History.

We learned about Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, and a host of other well-known African American leaders. Some of us would even get to dress up and reenact their life stories in plays, skits and musicals.

~~~

Although it is not blatantly obvious, the undertones of segregation and racial discrimination are prevalent throughout Pittsburgh. To get a glimpse of how separated Pittsburgh can be, one would only have to step one foot into my childhood community, Homewood.

Homewood is a predominately African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. When I was a young boy in Homewood, the neighborhood was fun and recreational – there were plenty of activities for children to do around the neighborhood – a skating rink, sports programs, and the like. But the effects of poverty, low-income housing, underemployment, and the drug crisis of the 90’s have since crippled the community.

Pittsburgh has invested millions of dollars into infrastructure and community development, but Homewood was left out of the redeveloping plan. The community still provides programs for youth, but they are not well supported anymore — they have less funding, less manpower, and fewer resources.

Crime is still prevalent in the area and many children and residents have little to no one to look up to. A lot of its residents share the sentiment that no one outside Homewood cares about them.

The struggles of the community and its children resonate with me on a personal level. Like many children in the community today, I grew up with no father in the home. I had a single mother who was addicted to drugs, and it seemed at times that no one cared about the harsh realities of poverty-stricken families in less affluent, drug polluted, communities.

All we had was each other, and with the community being almost completely African American, it seemed as if the outside world simply did not want to deal with the issues in Homewood.

And yet, in the face of this adversity Homewood has always been a proud community.

February 27th, 2018|All, Editor's Picks, Mass Deployment, Service Platoons|

I Felt Like Myself Again at Mass Deployment

February 9, 2018
By Heather Cereste, Mass Deployment volunteer

Veteran Heather Cereste volunteering at Mass Deployment with The Mission Continues

My first experience with The Mission Continues was as a participant of Mass Deployment, which was dubbed Operation Westside Surge (OWS), and took place in Atlanta, Georgia that year. My volunteer work up until OWS, while enjoyable, hadn’t yet filled the void in me, or given me a new life’s purpose.

I sought something more in my life, but, until OWS, wasn’t quite sure what.

Today I share this journey with you.

February 9th, 2018|All, Editor's Picks, Mass Deployment|

Now Accepting Mass Deployment 2018 Applications

February 5, 2018
Mass Deployment Applications are Open

If you want to spend an intensive week volunteering alongside civic-minded veterans from across the country, Mass Deployment is the service opportunity for you!

Join us June 21-28 2018 as we bring veterans together to show how veteran determination and skills can make a positive difference in a community in need. From this week you will forge bonds with fellow volunteers, learn and grow, and reignite your sense of purpose.

Applications are now open for our third annual Mass Deployment, Operation Watts Is Worth It.

We will select 80 veterans from across the country to help lead this mission. Throughout this week of high-octane volunteerism, emerging veteran leaders such as yourself will give their all as they take on tough community challenges in the Watts area.

February 5th, 2018|All, Mass Deployment|

Our Next Mass Deployment: Operation Watts Is Worth It

The Mission Continues -- Operation Watts is Worth It

Next Stop: Watts, Los Angeles

On June 21-28 2018, we’re deploying 85 veteran leaders to Watts in Los Angeles for our third Mass Deployment, Operation Watts Is Worth It (OWW).

Veterans are a powerful force when called upon to serve. Since leaving the military, tens of thousands have continued to serve in their local communities. They bring hard-earned leadership, exemplary training,

November 6th, 2017|All, Mass Deployment|

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.

July 28th, 2017|All, Mass Deployment|