By Janet Newsome, Senior Regional Admissions Specialist
The Mission Continues has officially launched applications for our 4th Mass Deployment, Operation Charm City Charge (OC3), which will take place for one week in beautiful Baltimore, Maryland in June 2019! As any previous attendee can attest, the Mass Deployment experience is more than just a week of high-impact volunteerism in one city. It’s an investment in yourself as a community leader.
With all of this excitement circling around Mass Deployment, we want to offer you a behind-the-scenes look at our selection process! (Shhh…don’t tell anyone! It’s supposed to be a secret!!!)
My name is Caitlin Zbikowski and I’m the Manager of Talent Acquisition & Onboarding at The Mission Continues. Eight years ago, I began my search for employment. I was a Senior at the University of Missouri – Columbia (“Mizzou”). I aspired to work for a nonprofit organization in St. Louis (my hometown) after I graduated.
I had never heard of The Mission Continues before. They never came up in my searches. I had never thought about working with veterans, which was very strange because my brother was a post 9/11 veteran. After I started reading about their mission, vision and the programs they had to offer veterans like my brother, I WAS HOOKED! I really put my heart and soul into my application and interviews, so when I was extended an offer, I cried a little.
No more about me though. Let’s shift gears – talk about you – and what you can expect as an applicant.
If you’re reading this, then you have likely received an email from our Research & Evaluation team requesting your feedback on our third Annual Survey. In the past, we asked about what brought you to The Mission Continues and how your participation has impacted you.
You helped us develop the Empowered Veteran Index framework and focus our programming on connectedness, personal growth, and community impact.
Your insights also helped our programs become better. We listened to what is working and what is not to make improvements to our existing programs like Mass Deployment. It also led to the launch of our Service Leadership Corps when we saw the desire of our veterans wanting to serve in a new way.
In short, survey respondents have helped us to become stronger as an organization, to strengthen our programs that are empowering veterans as community based leaders, and to become even more inclusive as an organization.
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.
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.
So, you’ve decided it’s time for you to continue the mission by applying for one of our programs like Mass Deployment, Women Veterans Leadership Summit, or the Service Leadership Corps…..nice! We like you already. Now your mission is to make sure we know that continuing the mission without you would be mission impossible (see what I did there) by making it through our admissions process.
So, here are some tips for taking your application from excellent to elite!
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, a horrible act of violence occurred in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The city and our country continues to process these acts and grieve for our brothers and sisters who have been directly impacted by these horrendous acts.
Through the darkness, there has been some brightness; one of those rays being that all 11 people who were killed, have their funeral costs covered by over $200K raised by the local Islamic community.
As the city continues grieve, our City Impact Manager Stephanie Grimes is working with the local service platoons and partners to see where our efforts can best support the needs and desires of the Jewish community, residents of Squirrel Hill, and all others affected by this act of hatred.
For Pittsburgh locals, here’s what you can do this weekend
On November 3, 8:30 am-12:00 pm we will meet to organize at the Smallman Street Deli, discuss our mission, and form a plan for how best to support the community at each site. We have been asked to be on call to help with presence, but all that wish to attend the services are encouraged to do so. Those who do not will remain outside to increase the presence of allies and to demonstrate the strength of the bonds between the veteran and Jewish community.
Signs of support and love are encouraged, but must be free of any political messaging, and in good taste. Our power is our unity, and our mission is to heal and protect. Please tailor all messages to this goal.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.