May 13, 2018
By Sarah Silva, Fellow Alumna
My fellowship with The Mission Continues has had an incredible impact on my life. I spent five years in the Marines. During that time, I met my husband, and we had our two sons. When I left the Marines in 2011, I was lucky to be able to spend a few years at home with the boys while they were still tiny.
Once they were both in school, I went back too, finally completing my bachelor’s degree. However, as I reached my final year of college, I was no closer to figuring out what I wanted to do with my degree once I had it.
Since moving here, one of the things my family has loved the most about San Antonio is its parks. In particular, we spend a lot of time at Hemisfair, a downtown park that is being redeveloped. We watch movies on the lawn, attend festivals, and the kids see how filthy they can get between the splash pad and the sand area. We’ve spent a lot of amazing Saturdays together there.
I saw on Facebook that the Hemisfair Conservancy, which handles philanthropic support for Hemisfair, was looking for a veteran to spend six months assisting them in their mission and learning from them as a Mission Continues fellow.
I had NO IDEA what The Mission Continues was, or what I was getting into. I just knew that I was a veteran, some of my best times with my kids were at this park, and they were offering to help get my post-military career started. I applied immediately. (FYI–when I said above that we spent “a lot of time” at Hemisfair, I mean that my host site supervisor recognized me when I first introduced myself to her as a prospective fellow!)
I had the opportunity to help clean up a community sports center in Boston during my fellowship orientation, providing families there with a great outdoor area to spend time in.
My fellowship itself was wonderful, working with remarkable people who were happy to share knowledge and provide experiences that would benefit me not just in a nonprofit setting, but in any workplace. Through the Conservancy, I’ve been able to help ensure that other San Antonio families will get to enjoy Hemisfair, too.
It was hard to leave when my time with them ended (although I looked forward to finally having the time to commit to one of San Antonio’s Service Platoons). So when I found out a few weeks later that Hemisfair was hiring, I sent in a resume the same day.
Maybe some people wouldn’t enjoy spending their weekends AND weekdays in the same place. I absolutely love it!
The Mission Continues gave me a chance at nonprofit experience that helped me start my civilian career, and build a greater connection to my community through both my job and my service platoon.
It’s even gotten me some Cool Parent points—my oldest commented the other day, “Mom, I still can’t believe you work at our favorite park.” Some days, neither can I.
Report for duty in your community with The Mission Continues. Serve with a Service Platoon at an upcoming service event near you or apply for a fellowship. You can learn more about our programs on our website and stay updated on the latest news and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.