Time to Shine, Hampton Roads, Renee Foster is Here!

November 4, 2016

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We are happy to welcome Renee Foster, our new City Impact Manager for Hampton Roads in Virginia. As a Navy veteran and former Platoon Leader, Renee is already familiar with The Mission Continues family. But we want to introduce her to you too. After interviewing her, we’ve put together a little Q&A about Renee.

Describe your city for someone who has never been to it. What do you see as its most urgent challenges?

Hampton Roads is the name of the geographical area encompassing seven cities. We have a large population of at-risk youth, and gang violence is the biggest issue here. I live in the area myself, and I think some of this is happening because there are not enough jobs for youth. Most of the jobs available to them are low paying jobs, so young people resort to selling drugs as the money-making option.

I also see a lack of father or mother figures in the lives of these youth, because some of them are living in a single parent households. A solution to that could be a strong mentorship program for teens and young adults to help them build job-related skills and get them to see beyond where they are now.  

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What drew you to The Mission Continues?

For me, being a veteran is a strong part of my identity. The thing I miss most about the military is the camaraderie and the structure. I was drawn to The Mission Continues because even though I didn’t serve in the post-9/11 era, (because I got out in ‘97), I still wanted to help the people who did serve post-9/11. I want to help my military brothers and sisters.

What is something you think everyone needs to hear about veterans?

I don’t like it when I hear people say that veterans are “brainwashed” or “reprogrammed.” I say veterans are humans too. We make mistakes and have our moments just like everybody else. We’re human. Even while we’re in the military and even when we get out, we’re human first.

What is something embarrassing that’s happened to you that is unique?

I am prone to trip when there’s nothing there!

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What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love camping, fishing, biking, shooting and archery ranges — pretty much anything outdoors.

If you had to be a fictional character, who would you choose and why?

I would be wonder woman. I would be able to handle all things, be in different places in the blink of an eye, and be that invisible fly on the wall. I think the part I would love the most is being able to help people and do good.

 

Want to join the team? Check out our careers page for available opportunities. 

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.

What’s New with the Los Angeles Office?

October 19, 2016

Two more team members have joined The Mission Continues family in Los Angeles! We are pleased to welcome Emily Hummel and Nestor Ramirez, who will be greatly increasing the capacity for our Communications and Research and Evaluation teams, respectively. Both Emily and Nestor will help our organization on a national level — you’ll be able to see their hard work reflected in our social media, impact reporting, and improvements in our programs.

Continue reading “What’s New with the Los Angeles Office?”

Meet Our Newest Executive Director, Tony Arendt

October 8, 2016

We recently welcomed Tony Arendt to the Mission Continues family as our Midwest Executive Director. Tony will be spearheading our plans for building local relationships and making a sustainable impact in cities like Chicago, Detroit, and more. Hopefully you’ll get to meet Tony yourself, but in the meantime, here’s a brief introduction. Continue reading “Meet Our Newest Executive Director, Tony Arendt”

How Did You Come to Work at The Mission Continues?

September 29, 2016
By Chris Randall, Fellowship Program Specialist

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Why I Wanted to Serve

From the time I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to be a Marine. Growing up in North St. Louis, my father was my role model – a standout in a tough neighborhood. He was determined to not let anything, let alone age requirements, get in his way. He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 15 — before he could drive, vote or buy a beer — and served during the Korean War.

I wasn’t exactly a great student as a kid, but I was dedicated in other ways, and most important, I was dedicated to my dream. More than anything, I wanted to be part of the military like my father. So I started early. I joined the Young Marines Program when I was 8 years old, and attend Cleveland Jr. Naval Academy in St. Louis for high school.

In many ways, just like my father, I didn’t want to waste any time. I felt ready, more than ready, to achieve my dream as soon as possible, so much so that I made sure to graduate high school ahead of schedule so I could enlist at the age of 17.

Continue reading “How Did You Come to Work at The Mission Continues?”

A “Salute From The Chief”

September 14, 2016

closing-ceremony-mission-continuesSpencer Kympton, center, addresses Charlie Class 2014 Fellows at their orientation in Los Angeles.

General Mark A. Milley, 39th Chief of Staff of the Army, will recognize Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues, with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his leadership of the national nonprofit organization and dedication to supporting our veterans and military families. The award is the third-highest public service honor the Army can bestow upon a civilian.

The Mission Continues is a national non-profit that connects veterans to opportunities to serve again—here at home. It’s a unique model that empowers veterans to build new skills and networks that help them successfully reintegrate to life after the military while making long-term, sustainable transformations in communities and inspiring future generations to serve.

Since taking helm of the organization as president in 2014, Kympton—an US Army veteran—has seen The Mission Continues continue its growth in scale and impact with nearly 10,000 veterans participating in community service across the country. Operations in cities nationwide now deploy veteran volunteers alongside non-profit partners and community leaders to solve some of the most challenging issues facing our communities. More than 60 teams of veterans and community volunteers have mobilized across the country through our Service Platoon Program, and thousands more have been engaged to date through the The Mission Continues Fellowship Program.

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Here’s One Deployment We Can’t Get Enough Of

August 8, 2016
By Mary Beth Bruggeman

13502557_10153725693838170_7969695873164870499_oMary Beth Bruggeman, left, serving at Operation Motown Muster.

The word “deployment” has so many emotional associations for military veterans that it can be difficult to explain to a non-veteran why we miss them.

Few relish the time spent away from family, missed birthdays and anniversaries, first steps and even the birth of their children. They don’t miss the fear, the discomfort, the flies, the hole in the ground that serves as a shared toilet, or the pain and sadness from the loss of their comrades in arms.

But sure enough, through the joy and the excitement of homecoming, there often lingers an unsettling desire to be back out there with our brothers and sisters, committed to a difficult mission that, by its very nature, tries us and unites us in common purpose.

And in a twist of psychology that defies all reason, we miss it when it’s over.

Continue reading “Here’s One Deployment We Can’t Get Enough Of”

How I Found a Job I Love with The Mission Continues

May 16, 2016
By Stephanie Grimes, City Impact Manager

“How’s the new job going?” is a question I have answered no less than 50 times in the last month, as I recently took on the role of City Impact Manager in Pittsburgh for The Mission Continues.

Over the years, I have lived in a lot of places and been in lot of roles.  After graduating college, I moved to Philadelphia where I taught middle school as a Teach for America corp member.

A year later I married my husband, who was in the Army.  We moved from one duty location to another for the next four years. I found meaningful work in a number of jobs supporting high risk youth, had a child of my own, endured a few deployments, and in 2011 I finally ended up in Pittsburgh upon my husband’s discharge from the Army.

Truth be told, we had never even visited Pittsburgh before making the jump.  We crossed our fingers, told ourselves that we could make it through anything, and made our way through tunnels and over bridges to our new home.  In the years following my husband’s transition from the military, our family fell in love with our new city of Pittsburgh.

Continue reading “How I Found a Job I Love with The Mission Continues”

A Sense of Belonging, Together

May 3, 2016
By Mary Beth Bruggeman

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on The Huffington Post)

On the rare occasion that 50 women gather together in the military, their male counterparts hover anxiously outside the room, wondering what conspiracies they must be plotting within. So you can imagine the awe and great personal fulfillment I felt when 52 women veterans from The Mission Continues – representing all five branches of the military – came together for the first time in April to share stories, to laugh, and to learn.

Continue reading “A Sense of Belonging, Together”