#HerMission: Women Veterans Joining Forces in San Francisco

May 25, 2017

On May 18th, 50+ women veterans gathered in San Francisco for The Mission Continues’ second annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit. These women have been impressive agents of change in their communities, using our programs to their fullest potential and beyond.

The weekend, focused on professional development, networking and self-care, was packed with panels, workshops, inspirational speakers and even meditation exercises. Of course, we had a service project — because no Mission Continues event is complete without one!

Change Happens from the Ground Up, and that Starts with Me

May 23, 2017
By Mason Leist, Fellow

I was in the fifth grade when I saw the terrorist attacks of 9/11 unfold on television. Though I was only a child, the day left me with a strong desire to defend my country. The call to serve rang even louder as I grew up listening to my granddad and uncle telling stories of their time at war. I answered the call when I joined

Stepping Up to the Plate: Breaking Records in Baseball

May 19, 2017

On May 26-29th, two teams of amateur baseball players, including military veterans, will gather in the St. Louis, MO area in an attempt to break the world record of the “Longest Marathon Baseball Game” ever played. The game is being held in support of The Mission Continues in order to raise awareness for veterans. We empower veterans to reintegrate into civilian life through community service, and are excited about this opportunity to share our message with the greater population. The players will try to establish a new record of over 72 uninterrupted hours of baseball, surpassing their 2015 record of 70 hours, 9 minutes and 24 seconds.

You can join in on the fun by bidding in the silent auction or supporting the players! Prizes include a Big Cedar Lodge Get-a-Way and a Breckenridge Cabin Get-a-way.

Learning to Overcome Adversity as a Single Mom

May 14, 2017
By Stacy Munn, Fellow Alum

When I first became aware of The Mission Continues, I saw it as my chance to engage my eldest child in sustained service beyond the small acts of kindness people do on the holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Including him in the mission made me more than elated–this was an opportunity for my son to engage and observe individuals that share our family values. Seeing my son interact with active duty members and veterans at various project sites filled me with pride.

But then I realized I wanted more. Learning about The Mission Continues’ Fellowship Program absolutely changed my world, to say the least. It was a daunting, humbling and amazing six-month experience. Would I take this journey over again? Yes, in a Navy minute.

Why Are We Losing Our Veterans to Deportation?

May 12, 2017
By Carlos Luna, Fellow

You wouldn’t think veterans, their families, and Gold Star families are being deported — but they are.

What spurred me to speak to Chicago’s City Council about this is a story that’s been in the news recently about Miguel Perez Jr.. Miguel is a United States Army veteran who, after serving time for drug-related charges, is facing the possibility of being deported to Mexico, a country he hasn’t seen since he was eight. He deployed to Afghanistan twice, and has relative experience with combat and weapons. He and his family fear he will be forced to serve cartels and gangs if sent to Mexico because of his expertise.

As a veteran and President of League of United Latin American Citizens – Green Card Veterans chapter, I am driven to talk about this issue. Although we are often led to believe that this is an issue that only affects the Mexican community, the fact is that this fight for justice and equality is one that transcends ethnic differences.

When veterans return home, they are met with unemployment, reintegration challenges, lack of support, and lack of purpose. Because of this, veterans are routinely preyed upon by financial institutions, so-called educational institutions, and, in cases like Miguel, by organized crime for his knowledge of weapons and combat.

Undocumented: How One Word Changed My Life

May 5, 2017
By Nestor Ramirez, Staff Member

Imagine you were barred from legally getting a job, a driver’s license, or if you wanted to go to college, financial aid. This was my reality for many years and it made me fearful and confused. I want to share my story with you to show you the struggles and experiences that led me to find my purpose in life which is to contribute to my community and country.  And I want to discuss how my experiences relate to those of immigrants in America.

I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. And when I was three years old, I was brought to the U.S. by my mother. She wanted a better life for me and my sister but she couldn’t bring us here legally. As a result, I lived the next 20 years of my life undocumented. A few years later my father reunited with us.

When I was seven years old my father casually told me at a family gathering that I was undocumented and that I was different from other people. His words seared in my mind. Undocumented.  How could one word change my life?  I didn’t feel different; I didn’t look different, but I was now set apart. Growing up I had a difficult time resolving in my head that I was undocumented and I was going to be legally barred from getting a job. At the same time, I had people around me encouraging me to do well in school. I remember in 7th grade my teacher told our class: “each of you has the opportunity to go to college and get a good job. You just have to work hard enough.”

General Ray Odierno Joins The Mission Continues’ Board of Directors

April 26, 2017

Photo by John Martinez
(Photo by John Martinez)

The Mission Continues welcomes retired four-star U.S. Army General Ray Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, to its Board of Directors. In this role, Gen. Odierno will help guide The Mission Continues in its mission of empowering veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

“Gen. Odierno is one of the most respected military leaders of our time. His track record of effective leadership over his nearly 40 year military career will no doubt be a tremendous asset to our organization,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “He was ‘in the fight’ with this generation of veterans—and is deeply committed to their continued success. As we work to empower veterans to be a force for good in at-risk communities across the country, Gen. Odierno’s experience and vision will be most welcomed and valued.”

Jon Stewart Joins The Mission Continues for Earth Day

April 24, 2017

On Earth Day, TV personality and veteran advocate Jon Stewart joined Mission Continues volunteers to help restore the Bronx Forest. We worked with Bronx River Alliance, New York City Parks, and community volunteers to remove invasive species, add reinforcements to native species, blaze a new path in the Bronx Forest, and clean the Bronx River.

Jon Stewart welcomed the crowd of volunteers, saying, “Our country – our world – has so many problems, veterans and first responders are solutions waiting to happen. When we can combine veterans and first responders to our problems, we can do anything.”

It was heartening to see veterans from across New York City gather to protect the Bronx Forest’s natural landscape. This service project was one of many led by The Mission Continues where veterans mobilized together to solve challenges specific to their communities. In the Bronx, The Mission Continues’ local New York 2nd Service Platoon is committed to neighborhood beautification and arts development.

5 Ways You Can Help Us in Atlanta

April 17, 2017

Have you ever heard about a group of 75 veterans from across the country gathering in one city to use their leadership and teamwork skills to help revive a community? Probably not. Because it’s only been done once before. After a successful first Mass Deployment, as we call it, The Mission Continues will be deploying again this June! We are coming to Atlanta’s Westside to amplify and reinforce

#HerMission: Pittsburgh 1st Platoon Pioneers All-Women Service Project

April 14, 2017
By Stephanie Grimes, City Impact Manager

Whatever you did with your Saturday, the Pittsburgh 1st Service Platoon did something you’ll definitely want to hear about. This platoon pioneered a special kind of project on April 8th — one empowering women veterans and civilians.

This platoon tackles neighborhood revitalization in a part of Pittsburgh called Hazelwood, and this project’s objective was to give