When my son was younger, I loved reading him a children’s book about a community in Chad, Africa. Following the rainy season each year, neighbors came together to rebuild the local school, which they’d made the previous year from mud bricks. The bricks eroded in the rains, and people of all ages joined hands to erect a new building. It is a beautiful tale of shared experience and purpose.
I’m drawn to stories of collective action: modern “barn raisings” where communities come together to build playgrounds in urban centers, revitalize and restore our schools, and repair homes for those in need. It’s both the outcome(structures that are needed by the community) and the process (endeavors that bring people together in sweat, challenge, and joy) that make these stories inspiring.
As a country, we seem to have lost our way in this regard. As we succumb to the many forces that divide us, we lose out on both the structures, and the bonds, that result from shared experience and shared purpose.
The good news is that there are ways to restore this human characteristic and long-standing aspect of our country’s history. With your help, The Mission Continues is building a veteran-led movement to recapture unity. By locking arms in support of shared missions, veterans and their neighbors are addressing important needs in under-resourced communities across the country.
In 2018, The Mission Continues activated 20,000 volunteers at 1,500 projects, builds, raisings, clean-ups, and events. Together, they generated thousands of stories of unity and impact, like these:
- In Los Angeles, over 500 volunteers mobilized during five consecutive days of service in June to bring new life to three schools, a public housing development, and city streets.
- In Pittsburgh, a Navy veteran returned home to a community dealing with a legacy of poverty, under-employment, and drug addiction to lead his neighbors to drive change from within, together.
- In Puerto Rico, the lasting effects of Hurricane Maria motivated a group of veterans to join forces and take action. They formed a new Service Platoon, and nearly a year later, their mission to help the island recover from the storm is bringing hundreds together.
At The Mission Continues, we see every day what happens when we bring people together. Structures aren’t the only things we build. We forge bonds too.
In 2019, we’ll strengthen these bonds as we build even more. Continued innovations in our programs will create stronger networks, more effective training, and new pathways for veterans to continue serving:
- In January, we’ll celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a nationwide service campaign, setting the tone for a busy year of operations in 50 metro areas between the coasts.
- In March, we’ll build upon our long-term commitment to women veterans through our 4th Annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit.
- In April, we’ll graduate the inaugural class of community-based leaders through our Service Leadership Corps, and will begin preparations to launch a second cohort later in the year.
- In June, we’ll activate hundreds of volunteers in Baltimore for a week of high-impact and much-needed projects during Operation Charm City Charge.
- Throughout the year, we’ll learn from the operations we launched in 9 new cities, including Tucson, Killeen, and Boise, while deepening our engagement in communities from Honolulu to Boston.
As always, we’re on a mission to connect veterans and community members to the needs of under-resourced communities. With your help, The Mission Continues can empower veterans to serve again, while also empowering these communities with veteran talent, skills and preparedness.
Help us reach new heights in 2019. Report for duty, with us. We’ll construct outdoor classrooms and community gardens. We’ll refurbish community centers and protect our parks. Maybe we’ll raise a barn. Whatever the project is, we’ll definitely build bonds.
Yours in Service,
President, The Mission Continues
P.S. Help us empower more veteran leaders through a financial contribution to The Mission Continues.