Reaching New Heights in 2019

When my son was younger, I loved reading him a children’s book about a community in Chad, Africa. Following the rainy season each year, neighbors came together to rebuild the local school, which they’d made the previous year from mud bricks. The bricks eroded in the rains, and people of all ages joined hands to erect a new building. It is a beautiful tale of shared experience and purpose.

I’m drawn to stories of collective action: modern “barn raisings” where communities come together to build playgrounds in urban centers, revitalize and restore our schools, and repair homes for those in need. It’s both the outcome(structures that are needed by the community) and the process (endeavors that bring people together in sweat, challenge, and joy) that make these stories inspiring.

As a country, we seem to have lost our way in this regard. As we succumb to the many forces that divide us, we lose out on both the structures, and the bonds, that result from shared experience and shared purpose.

The good news is that there are ways to restore this human characteristic and long-standing aspect of our country’s history. With your help, The Mission Continues is building a veteran-led movement to recapture unity. By locking arms in support of shared missions, veterans and their neighbors are addressing important needs in under-resourced communities across the country.

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No one deserves to endure what I did as a transgender soldier

By Joey Wimple, volunteer

I loved being a soldier and I am proud to be a transgender person. No one deserves to endure what I did.

I had the desire to join the Army as a result of two driving forces. The first, my grandfather was a disabled World War II Veteran who fell madly in love with my grandmother, an Army nurse who treated his wounds. As you can tell by that quick anecdote, military service was deeply rooted into my family’s framework.

The second motive to enlist was that I desperately needed to feel a connection to something. I needed some sense of belonging. I needed a community. My childhood was fairly grim and clouded. Being transgender but not being able to identify my feelings to an actual concept caused me to have crippling social anxiety and overwhelming sorrow.

Joey Wimple

I isolated myself, and fell into a deep, daunting, depression. It was as if I was drowning.

I needed to belong to a group and contribute to a cause larger than myself. I had no time to waste–I left home for the United States Army at the age of 17, a few days after my high school graduation.

I embraced serving and I absolutely loved it.

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Walking with the Wounded, and What it Meant to Veteran Frankie Perez

Earlier this year Puerto Rico Service Platoon Leader Frankie Perez embarked on a 3 month, 1000 mile journey, walking across America with three British and two American veterans with Walking with the Wounded. The group started in Los Angeles on June 2nd and finished in New York City September 6th with a special appearance from former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

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This January, Build Your #LegacyOfService

It is our duty as veteran leaders to inspire change

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on the principles of equality and selflessness that Dr. King embodied. Dr. King believed in celebrating and promoting the worth of every person. He championed for diverse cultures to live and thrive together in a spirit of love, understanding and service to one another.

Through his example, Dr. King challenged and empowered individuals to take action and lift up their neighbors and communities by volunteering. This January, The Mission Continues is issuing a call to serve through our campaign #LegacyofService.

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Hometown Huddle: A Detroit Veteran’s Day and MLK Day Collaboration

By Emily Ferstle, City Impact Manager

On Veterans Day, The Mission Continues Detroit Platoons were joined by The Detroit Lions, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Comerica Bank, and Caniff Electric Supply Co. for a day of impact at the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.

Veterans, civilians, community members, and corporate partner employees joined forces to make an impact in the lives of Detroit youth. The Lloyd H. Diehl clubhouse serves 60-100 children and teens daily, and is in continuous need of support to create and maintain a safe, welcoming environment for the youth to gather, learn, and play.

Check out the impact we made for Veterans Day and join us for more during our MLK Day of Service at the clubhouse for Blue Door Blitz!

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Columbus 1st Platoon’s Veterans Day with Hamilton Township High School

By Ian Haynes, City Impact Manager

This event was a new opportunity for the Columbus 1st to help fight food insecurity through the creation of an urban farm learning lab! Through a partnership with Hamilton Township High School and the YMCA of Central Ohio, the platoon was able to rehab an old greenhouse and the surrounding outdoor space at Hoover YMCA Park which is about ½ a mile from the high school. Students and staff from the school joined veterans from The Mission Continues for this impactful day of service.

Kim Tapia, a member of the Columbus 1st Leadership Team stepped up to lead the project. 20 volunteers including nine veterans and six students put in 90 volunteer hours total for our Veterans Day campaign with Hamilton Township High School (HTHS).

Students from Hamilton Township High School join The Mission Continues for a service project

It was an awesome day with good people and a great project for the community. I will definitely do more projects in the future. Being involved with The Mission Continues has really opened my eyes to see that our community needs help and I’m happy to be involved.

Dana Erikson, platoon and community member
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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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