Why I’m Passionate about Veteran Community Leaders

What was at first a volunteer passion project has turned into a career.

By Nitza Rivera, volunteer

I have been able to see first-hand how something that may seem so insignificant to one person, can improve the quality of life for another.

Nitza interviewed by the press for her Veterans Day 2018 service.

I truly believe that veteran leadership in our communities is just as important for the veteran as it is for the community it’s impacting.

With all my military moves through the different parts of this country and abroad, one thing remains constant, and that is the lack of leadership within our communities. It doesn’t necessarily mean that communities don’t care, I think that a lot of the times community members don’t know who to reach out to or where to look for guidance.

Planting and Clearing Garden Beds at Seeds of Faith Community Garden

For me, and other veterans, leaving the service left a void in our passion to serve others. Having the opportunity to use our leadership experience to serve and help mentor members in our communities fills that void. It also provides a platform of peer support for other veterans within the community, and the opportunity for the community to interact and learn about veterans.

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Boston Veteran Finds a Home in Solving Homelessness

October 3, 2018
By Kat Saldana, platoon leader

Integration back into civilian life was a bit of a struggle for me. The biggest struggle was losing my soldier identity and the camaraderie that came with it. On top of that, I became a military spouse, and that in itself has its own set of obstacles. I never really had time to process what that loss looked like because I just went from one role into another and then straight into motherhood.

Kat Saldana

I was often lonely because I didn’t have anyone that understood what I went through. I struggled mentally and emotionally to find someone that would understand my loss, and when you don’t live close to military installations, it is near impossible to find those people.  

It took me a long time to reach out for mental health resources partly because of my busy schedule, but partly due to the stigmatization of reaching out for help — it made you weak.

I wouldn’t cry. Alcohol was my way of coping. I was slowly spiraling mentally and emotionally out of control.

As it would happen, I found The Mission Continues in 2017 at one of the lowest points in my life. My depression and anxiety were in high gear and I was having suicidal ideations.

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The Mission Continues Launches Innovative Veterans Leadership Program

PRESS RELEASE

The veterans’ nonprofit is kicking off the new six-month, intensive training program by bringing together more than 50 veterans for a weekend-long event in Newark

NEW YORK (PRWEB) OCTOBER 02, 2018

Veterans’ nonprofit, The Mission Continues, is empowering veterans as community-based leaders with the launch of its latest program, the Service Leadership Corps. The program is an opportunity for civic-minded veterans to serve on the community level, while further developing their leadership abilities. Through the implementation of the renowned Human-Centered Design framework by the LUMA Institute and custom designed educational objectives, veterans will learn new ways to identify and address our nation’s most critical issues as advocates for change.

The Service Leadership Corps (SLC) will provide veterans with an immersive curriculum that includes engaging workshops, online learning, collaborative assignments, and experiential learning. In partnership with non-profit organizations, Corps members will apply their training to address the most significant challenges within a given community.

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Houston Hosts Platoon Leadership Summit 2018

September 28, 2018

We see veterans as assets, not liabilities. This strongly held belief is core to our programs and events, and Platoon Leadership Summit is no exception. For 2018’s Summit, our goal was to support veteran leaders in our Service Platoon Program in their personal growth, connectedness with other veterans, throughout communities, and within themselves.

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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:

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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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The Impact of Operation Watts Is Worth It

September 12, 2018

This summer was FULL of impact, from the Summer Service Slam, Mass Deployment, a jam-packed schedule of service projects throughout the country (rockin’ it, as usual), and a ton of impressive Service Leadership Corps applications. 

Mass Deployment 2018–Operation Watts Is Worth It was a unique service opportunity, and we wanted to share the results with you. See for yourself what veterans accomplished in Watts!

Thank you to all the veterans who stepped up to SERVE AGAIN this summer! Know that you are leading positive change through your commitment to your communities. We can’t wait to see you for our September United In Service campaign!

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Veterans With The Mission Continues Unite in Service to Honor the Anniversary of 9/11

PRESS RELEASE

Month-Long Service Campaign to Create Transformational Community Change

NEW YORK (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 — This September, over 500 veteran volunteers from The Mission Continues are uniting in service, with support from The Starbucks Foundation, to honor the 17th anniversary of September 11, 2001. The Mission Continues is a nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to find growth, purpose, and connection through community impact.

In reverence for those affected and who served in the wake of 9/11, The Mission Continues has organized United in Service, a month-long campaign of inspired community service projects. Nationwide, 55 veteran-led service platoons will mobilize to tackle local needs such as under-resourced schools, disaster relief and safe access to green space.

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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)”