Bravo Class of 2017: Changing Our Life Story by Helping Youth Do the Same

April 5, 2017

This weekend The Mission Continues is rising to new heights by coming to the mountainous city of Denver, Colorado, for our Bravo Class of 2017 Orientation. Orientation marks the beginning of a new chapter for our new fellows and platoon leaders, as they will embark on a new mission to serve again. In doing so, they will be changing the veteran narrative, where they step up to the plate to serve their country even after they’ve come home. We are pleased to welcome this new class of platoon leaders and fellows into our Mission Continues family. Their first act of service will take place at the Tennyson Center for Children, where they will kick off our new relationship with a day of meaningful impact.

From Clashing Cultures in Baghdad to Building Bridges in Honolulu

March 29th, 2017
By Brayden Yoder, Fellow

It was the desert that answered, years after I first heard the question: “Ohhh, Soldier,” we used to sing, “ where have you been?”  Those that have marched to this cadence can recite the answers of previous generations, who had been to Korea and Normandy, San Juan Hill, Lexington, and all around the globe, “fighting for liberty; dying for freedom.”  After 9/11, my brothers and sisters in uniform and I could contribute a new verse: I’ve been to Baghdad.

I felt proud that years from now, when my grandson asks me what I did in the great war on terror, I wouldn’t have to tell him, (to paraphrase General Patton),  “I sat on the couch playing video games next to Mama.”  Yet like many of us, I left Iraq and the military strangely unfulfilled by the war I always thought I wanted. Every question the desert answered about my abilities as a leader opened up others for me as a human being.

The Fellowship That Gave Me a Roadmap After the Military

March 24, 2017
Gabriel Ramos, Fellow Alum

I often dreamt of becoming a real life superhero.

Although the persona I’d originally envisioned for myself evolved and took different forms – be it a masked vigilante, a gallant cowboy, a fearless detective – my vision was unwavering: I wanted to save the world.

I finally settled on my hero of choice upon watching the opening credits to A Few Good Men when I was nine years old. One glimpse of the Marine Corps’ dress blues was all I needed to know that it was the uniform I was destined to wear.

Whatever reservations I might have had would be erased during the fall of my junior year of high school in 2001. I enlisted at the age of 17, and a year later I realized my dream of becoming part of the best my country had to offer.

Teaming Two Unlikely Pairs in Orlando

March 17, 2017
By Melissa Geiwitz, Community Partner

The Mission Continues recently asked Home Builders Institute (HBI), “How are we doing?” Immediately, we reminisced about the unique and special relationship The Mission Continues has helped forge between our Central Florida veterans and youth. In an effort to bring positive role models into the lives of juvenile justice-involved youth, a program called Project Bridge has teamed the two unlikely pairs, and it has led to meaningful and impactful work for so many.

Since September 2015, HBI and Eckerd Kids Project Bridge have partnered with The Mission Continues Orlando 1st Service Platoon. With this innovative partnership, veterans can continue serving at home while solving specific challenges in their communities. In Orlando, the mission and main focus of the local platoon is working with Project Bridge youth who are at risk of failing in major tasks necessary to assure a productive life.

AmeriCorps: Another Way to Serve Your Country

March 11, 2017

The military isn’t the only way one can be of service to country.

The drive to serve isn’t borne by servicemembers and veterans alone; it is the flag under which veterans and civilians unite.

An integral part of our philosophy is that while continued service can play an important role in veterans’ lives, change can only happen when we join hands with the next generation of Americans: our youth. Just as we enlist veterans to serve where their community needs it most, AmeriCorps enlists young adults to do the same.

In our experience, both AmeriCorps alumni and veterans come away from their experience with a drive to continue serving. While it’s no question that the military and AmeriCorps are vastly different, there are a few notable common threads. Like the military, AmeriCorps provides young adults in their formative years a unique opportunity to shape their careers, experience comradery, grow personally, find their niche, and even find a sense of purpose.  In this way, government programs like AmeriCorps are an important part of the service ecosystem in which we live.

A Student, a Scientist, and a Warrior Walk into a Conference

March 3, 2017
By David Riera, Fellow

The Everglades National Park is my home, both figuratively and literally. As a budding ecologist, environmental educator and advocate, I fervently believe that this unique ecosystem represents more than a biological stronghold. And even though the Everglades’ luster has been tarnished by human activities, my students, peers, fellow veterans, and I still believe it is one of the crowning jewels of this planet.

As a first-generation Floridian, I grew up throughout Miami-Dade County, and moved around frequently. The only consistency in my life was the Everglades, the National Seashores of south Florida, and numerous other state and municipal parks. Whether it was snorkeling with my godfather, hiking with my father, or working with park staff on environmental projects, I knew I was a part of these natural places and that these places became a part of me.

This fascination with nature, especially in Florida, followed me through my life, as a juvenile, United States Marine, college student, researcher, and now as a teacher. I have been fortunate enough to reacquaint and re-engage with such a critical piece of myself.

Becoming the Hero I Needed at 18

February 22, 2017
By Joey Whimple, Fellow Alum

Dreams can come true, but don’t always happen the way you planned…

Now Accepting Applications for Operation Westside Surge

February 10, 2017

The Application for Operation Westside Surge is Live!

We had a fun and impactful week in Detroit last spring for Operation Motown Muster, and we are rolling with its momentum straight into the next Mass Deployment June 8-15, 2017. This year’s Mass Deployment has been dubbed Operation Westside Surge, and it will bring us to Atlanta, one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the country today.

Just like last year, this service opportunity will have you spending a week digging, drilling and dining alongside 70+ like-minded veterans from around the country.

The application for newcomers is open from February 3 until March 31. The earlier you apply, the better!

Our Commander’s Intent in 2017

February 10, 2017

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commander’s intent is a mission planning framework used in the military to succinctly define and describe an operation’s success.

+ Our mission in 2017: To empower veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.

+ Why do we do this: We deploy veterans on new missions in their communities, so that their actions will inspire future generations to serve.

+ How will we reach mission success?

1. Launch four classes of Mission Continues Fellows and Service Platoon Leaders.

Mission Continues Fellows will deploy in their communities for six-months at nonprofit and civic organizations while working toward personal and professional goals. Each fellowship is unique and the responsibilities are designed to match the passion of each veteran with the mission of the host organization.

The Allie behind the ReALLIEty Challenge

February 1, 2017
By Allie Ieyoub Davis, Grassroots Fundraiser
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Allie Ieyoub Davis is the owner of Project Fit and creator of the annual ReALLIEty Challenge in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Since 2012, participants have tackled a 3.5 mile obstacle course to raise over $26,000 for The Mission Continues. We are thrilled to share Allie’s story with you today.

My idea to create the ReALLIEty Challenge is a natural extension of my gym’s flagship program, Allie’s Bootcamp, a program I have led by former military officers. On bootcamp graduation day, we would create a mini-obstacle course that involved pushing trucks, running with buckets of water, and pulling firemen hoses. It amazed me to see the sense of pride on our recruits’ faces and to hear the excitement in their voices once they realized how much they had accomplished in six weeks. This program provided them with the tools needed to continue lifelong transformation!