An Inspirational Service Experience in Puerto Rico

By Marvin Cadet, Regional Resource Specialist

My flight landed at 6pm on a Thursday night. I was coming from a very cool New York City climate to a very humid, tropical Puerto Rico. Luckily, a lot of people in Puerto Rico speak English so it wasn’t too much of a challenge to get around at the airport.

My first observation of the island was how dark it was particularly on the highway. Not too many of the streetlights were operational; one of the many effects the island was experiencing in the wake of the Hurricane.

Though the hurricane affected the streetlights; it did not have much of an impact on the food. I was able to grab some of the best tacos I’ve ever had from a local food truck in Carolina, a San Juan neighborhood. A medley of spices and flavors unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

My reason for visiting the island was to assist the Puerto Rico Service Platoon with a service project they were planning in remembrance of Hurricane Maria. Hurricane Maria is the 10th most intense Hurricane to occur on record. The project would support folks that were affected by the hurricane a year prior in a little town called Humacao.

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Poised for Impact in the South Bronx

By Mohan Sivaloganathan, Northeast Executive Director

You don’t have to be world-famous to make an impact – you just have to dedicate the time, energy, and effort to work with your community from the ground-up and lead by example.

Derrick Clark, Navy Veteran and The Mission Continues Platoon Leader

For generations, our veterans have inspired people to affect positive change. Here in New York – a city that prides itself in coming together to advance the greater good – our veterans are continuing to step up on behalf of children and families.

From promoting healthy lifestyles to developing youth leadership to creating safe recreation spaces, veterans who serve with The Mission Continues are reclaiming a sense of purpose and gaining recognition as one of the city’s most vital levers for social impact.

As we look forward to 2019, we see that we’ve reached a tipping point for our work in New York City. In the coming year, we will activate more veterans than ever and truly position veterans at the forefront of the city’s service movement.

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Applying Yourself: Tips for Rocking the Admissions Process

The Mission Continues MLK Day of Service

By Cicely Black, Regional Admissions Specialist

So, you’ve decided it’s time for you to continue the mission by applying for one of our programs like Mass Deployment, Women Veterans Leadership Summit, or the Service Leadership Corps…..nice! We like you already. Now your mission is to make sure we know that continuing the mission without you would be mission impossible (see what I did there) by making it through our admissions process.

So, here are some tips for taking your application from excellent to elite!

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In the Wake of Tragedy, How You Can Help Pittsburgh

On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a horrible act of violence occurred in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The city and our country continues to process these acts and grieve for our brothers and sisters who have been directly impacted by these horrendous acts.

Through the darkness, there has been some brightness; one of those rays being that all 11 people who were killed, have their funeral costs covered by over $200K raised by the local Islamic community.  

As the city continues grieve, our City Impact Manager Stephanie Grimes is working with the local service platoons and partners to see where our efforts can best support the needs and desires of the Jewish community, residents of Squirrel Hill, and all others affected by this act of hatred.

For Pittsburgh locals, here’s what you can do this weekend

Join The Mission Continues 3rd Platoon as it stands with the Jewish Community. The Jewish community in Pittsburgh is calling for unity, and opening their doors to the entire community this Saturday for Shabbat services. There are services at 9:30 am at Beth Shalom, and 10:30 at Rodef Shalom. Volunteers with The Mission Continues will support both.

On November 3, 8:30 am-12:00 pm we will meet to organize at the Smallman Street Deli, discuss our mission, and form a plan for how best to support the community at each site. We have been asked to be on call to help with presence, but all that wish to attend the services are encouraged to do so. Those who do not will remain outside to increase the presence of allies and to demonstrate the strength of the bonds between the veteran and Jewish community.

Signs of support and love are encouraged, but must be free of any political messaging, and in good taste. Our power is our unity, and our mission is to heal and protect. Please tailor all messages to this goal.

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Chris Hayes on Why The Mission Continues’ Unique Model Is Not Replaceable

September 25, 2018

On September 18th we hosted our annual Commitment to Service Breakfast, a gathering of individuals who believe in supporting our work. This year’s event was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan.

Our president, Spencer Kympton and our Northeast Region executive director Mohan Sivaloganathan welcomed guests with opening remarks. We also heard from Joey Whimple about his transformative experience volunteering with The Mission Continues.

Loree Sutton, Commissioner at New York City Department of Veterans Services presented us with a Certificate of Recognition for our contributions to veterans in New York City. We also bestowed Community Solutions’ Brownsville Partnership with our Commitment to Service Award. Taurean Lewis, Resource Specialist for Community Solutions and Brownsville resident, accepted the award.

Our keynote speaker was Chris Hayes, Host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. His speech was so moving that we wanted to share it with you in full:

Continue reading “Chris Hayes on Why The Mission Continues’ Unique Model Is Not Replaceable”

5 Tips to Help You Plan Awesome Service Projects

September 20, 2018
By Marvin Cadet, Mission Continues Staff

Running service projects requires a lot of planning, coordination, and execution. Projects can include tasks such as painting classrooms, building pergolas & benches, and landscaping a large open space.  You have to gather input from a number of different people to ensure you’re fulfilling a need the community truly wants.

As you get closer to the day of the project, things get a lot crazier as everyone scrambles to check things off their to-do list, make sure all the materials are prepped and ensure it’s a great event.

Believe it or not, project planning gets easier the more you do it. Here are 5 tips to help you plan awesome service projects!

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#WhatsNext in the West from New Executive Director Doug Pfeffer

These past few months have been very productive and transformative for The Mission Continues West Region. Shortly after Mass Deployment in Los Angeles, we said farewell to Regan Turner as the Executive Director and welcomed back Doug Pfeffer (former Seattle City Impact Manager) to the role as West Region Executive Director.

Here’s an update on what’s happening in the West Region from Doug himself!

Friends,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Doug Pfeffer, and I am honored to assume the role of West Region Executive Director. Regan Turner was a huge influence on this region, as well as across the country.

Although I am trying to fill some pretty big shoes, I plan on doing my best to not only maintain the current form that has generated so much success in the West, but to see it taken to an even higher level, as we continue to impact communities across the West, and activate veterans across the entire region.

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How I Learned to Select a Diverse Team (And Why it Matters)

August 28, 2018
By Mary Beth Bruggeman, VP of Program Strategy

At The Mission Continues, diverse teams are representative of the veterans and the community members that we serve.

Why bother to build diverse teams in the first place, and how can you do it effectively?

If you’re wondering why diverse teams matter, I’ll break it down in terms that translate to everything we (and others) do. Diverse teams — in race, gender, identity, experience, age and many other factors– are proven to make better decisions.

There is ample evidence that companies with the higher percentages of racial/ethnic diversity are more likely to have higher financial returns than companies with less diverse teams. Among other benefits, organizations that embrace diversity have employees that are more likely to feel connected to others in the workplace, which fuels collaboration and innovation.

Veterans at our 2018 Women Veteran Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

It matters in our work at The Mission Continues, because diverse teams are representative of the veterans and the community members that we serve, along with being generally more effective decision making bodies. Continue reading “How I Learned to Select a Diverse Team (And Why it Matters)”

Our Summer Interns Are Rockin’ It

August 14, 2018

Summer is a busy time here at The Mission Continues. With high impact service events taking place across the country our teams are hard at work making sure everything goes smoothly both on the ground, and behind the scenes.  

This summer, our team includes 5 interns who are experiencing first hand exactly what it takes to make all of this come together.

They are rocking it this summer, and we want you to meet them!

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A Letter to Our Veterans: Thank You for Continuing to Make Our Nation’s Communities Stronger

July 10, 2018

To our veterans:

A burning desire to serve others bonds all veterans – across generations, geographies, and demographics. That desire rests in the heart of The Mission Continues. I have been uniquely privileged to see that desire – your desire – in action over the last seven years. And I am humbled by what you have been able to achieve.  

In recent months, I have been saddened and frustrated that the unacceptable decisions and actions of our founder, former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, have unfairly cast a shadow over that desire, and the significant impact we’ve had.

I recognize that the last 6 months have likely also saddened and frustrated you too. As our frontline leaders, you have likely had to help others make sense of this situation. You may have faced unwelcome scrutiny from the community, from your team members and partners, and even from the media. I’m sure it was uncomfortable, stressful, or disheartening.

Regardless of someone’s history with The Mission Continues, we do not stand by actions that violate the core values we all strive to embody. And as uncomfortable as it may be, we must not fail to pronounce that.

I want to make this clear to you: the actions of one individual will never detract from our achievements. Communities across the country are stronger because of your sweat and grit. No one can take that away from us.

I cannot adequately convey my gratitude for your steadfast leadership during this time. In the face of adversity, you did what we perhaps do best: continue the mission. You had to…because veterans’ desire to grow, connect, and serve has not waned over the last 6 months. And the problems we address in communities have certainly not gone away.

  • To our platoon leadership: Thank you for leading in your city—encouraging other veterans to mobilize, organize, and participate in your service projects to benefit your community.
  • To our fellows: Thank you for your enduring focus on your volunteer service, and your dedication to growing through serving.  
  • To our volunteers: Thank you for continuing to show up en masse – for working hard and for committing yourself to improving our local communities.
  • To all: Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. You are The Mission Continues.

When you look at our ongoing operations across the country, you see that we are stronger than ever. And I look forward to finishing 2018 with historic levels of impact, and an unabated desire for more.

 

Reporting for duty,

Spencer Kympton
President, The Mission Continues