#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.

Continue reading “#WhatsNext in the West from New Executive Director Doug Pfeffer”

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)”

It’s a Seattle Block Party! Veterans Support Immigrant and Refugee Communities

August 24, 2018

 Volunteers celebrating the day’s accomplishments.

On Saturday, August 11th, 2018, more than 100 veterans, community members and partner volunteers reported for duty in Seattle’s International District for the 2018 Seattle Service Block Party. For this day of service, volunteers focused on driving local impact on behalf of immigrant and refugee communities in the heart of Seattle’s International District.

With support from Starbucks, The Mission Continues volunteers collaborated with The Danny Woo Community Garden and InterIm CDA to help beautify the neighborhood. This synergy was riding on the initial momentum garnered by the Schultz Family Foundation, who gave initial support for the Service Platoon Program’s spread to Seattle.

Continue reading “It’s a Seattle Block Party! Veterans Support Immigrant and Refugee Communities”

#FixOurParks: Summer Service in Our National Parks

August 21, 2018

In partnership with the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association, Operation #FixOurParks took place on the weekend of July 27-29.

The last weekend in July was the final weekend of our Summer Service Slam series. The West Region ended it with a bang, getting busy at three national parks: Grand Canyon National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Mount Rainier National Park!

In partnership with the National Park Service and National Parks Conservation Association, over 100 veterans and active duty military personnel from around the west coast joined forces for a weekend of community service and impact in these four national parks.

We are The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact, offering a variety of ways for military-connected folks to get involved in volunteering. Volunteer opportunities range from the casual one-timer to the serious — and we mean serious — community-leading volunteer.

Our 2018 Summer Service Slam was a nationwide series of service projects during the month of July, enlisting 250+ veterans across the country who were interested in rolling up their sleeves to volunteer in service of their country — this time in a different way.

Continue reading “#FixOurParks: Summer Service in Our National Parks”

A Last Salute: Reflections from the Fellowship Program

August 17, 2018

Now that our final class — Alpha 2018 — of fellows have completed their term of service, we’d like to reflect on the legacy of fellows throughout the program’s 11 years. Here are a few fellow alumni from across the country on where they are now and what the fellowship meant to their personal growth and professional leadership. Continue reading “A Last Salute: Reflections from the Fellowship Program”

A Platoon Leader Continues Mission After Tragedy

August 15, 2018
By Kristle Helmuth, Platoon Leader

This year marks the 6th year that I have been part of The Mission Continues in one capacity or another. From the fellowship, to being a platoon leader, to now with my new role as an external affairs intern. The journey hasn’t been an easy one, but what’s a journey without a little adventure, right?

I first found the organization years after I got out of the Army. I had spent several years caring for my husband who was wounded in Iraq, and I felt like I had lost myself in that. I was looking for something, anything I could grab onto that would be mine, something I did.

I felt like I had not accomplished anything since I got out, and I felt useless.

My Mission Continues Fellowship gave that pride back to me, along with a rekindled love for service, something that would become a part of the new me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. It also gave me some new skills and the confidence to make things happen. Continue reading “A Platoon Leader Continues Mission After Tragedy”

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!

Continue reading “Our Summer Interns Are Rockin’ It”

How Two Rockstar Volunteers are Supporting Hawaii’s Keikis

August 10, 2018
By Lori Respicio, Nonprofit Partner

About a little over 11 months ago, Errol Ingram Jr. reached out to the Hale Pono Clubhouse and expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer. He shared his passion for helping and mentioned that he was volunteering through The Mission Continues. Surprisingly, the mission of The Mission Continues was right along the lines of the Boys & Girls Club movement.

Errol was volunteering five days a week, and our youth, especially our teens built a positive rapport with Errol. He even became Coach Errol to our basketball youth and has since continued to mentor our youth on and off the court.

Hale Pono Boys & Girls Club

The impact he was making became more than noticeable, and one member in particular took to him. One of our male members age ten did not have much social interaction skills, causing him to display certain behaviors. He signed up for our basketball season — and was placed on Errol’s team.

In the beginning, this member expressed his frustration, but with the help our staff and Coach Errol, he stuck it out the whole way through. As time went by, I noticed a change in his behavior. This member displayed a higher level of social skills and was able to express himself in a more positive manner!

Hale Pono Boys & Girls Club
Mission Continues Fellow Errol coaching basketball

After the basketball playoffs and celebrating their championship win, his mother had approached me and said, “he’s amazing.” At first, I thought she was referring to her son, but she clearly pointed out Errol. Continue reading “How Two Rockstar Volunteers are Supporting Hawaii’s Keikis”

Cheers to 5 Amazing Summer Service Slam Weekends

August 8, 2018

What an incredible set of Summer Service Slam weekends we’ve had! We worked hard, made an impact, and had fun in the process. That’s what it’s all about.

Thanks to our incredible volunteers who made these weekends go from a plan on paper to a real experience, and hopefully, to fond memories for all.

Much love to the long-time volunteer champions who stepped up to share their remarkable expertise and aspirations with all of us. And a high five to our incredible partners who will launch from this weekend’s foundation even more impact in their communities.

Take a look at snapshots of each Summer Service Slam weekend that took place throughout the month of July! Continue reading “Cheers to 5 Amazing Summer Service Slam Weekends”

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.

CarMax employee volunteer at Operation Watts is Worth It.

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! Continue reading “CarMax Cares About Operation Watts Is Worth It”