I spent my early childhood in Mexico, where my father was a doctor and my mother was a nurse. Life was peaceful at first, but the cartels took that away, and we fled to the United States–leaving everything behind in an instant. I went from being a rich kid to living in an industrial ghost town. I felt attacked on all sides, as if everything about me was wrong. My language was wrong. My food was wrong. My clothes were wrong. My skin tone was wrong. Inside the home we were Mexican, butinside my head all I could hear was Be MORE American.
Neighbors vandalized our home, and classmates beat me up. One day as I was being pummeled by bullies, the kicks and blows suddenly fell away. I looked up to see the uniformed Marine Corps recruiter who had sent the bullies packing. In that moment, he was my superhero, and I wanted to be just like him.
Miami’s 1st and Broward’s 1st platoons have two unique things in mind: environmental stewardship and youth development. It is within this cross-sectional focus that the two platoons come together and literally build community, one nail and wooden plank at time.
As a member of this community, I have found strength, not through the force of hands; wisdom, not through the wealth of experience; and kinship, not through the number of bodies. I have discovered these attributes and more, like empathy, kindness and sacrifice through their capacity to accept me as I am.
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.
Inspired by her childhood in Mexico, Carolina was destined to become a fashion designer with a purpose. Carolina said, “I used to observe my mother making clothes for my siblings and myself. Seeing her transform fabrics into garments intrigued me to the point that it motivated me to come to the United States.”
At the age of 18, Carolina left everything she knew in the hopes of attending design school in the United States. “The simple pleasures that most natives took for granted like simply understanding a movie in English was a daunting task,” she describes.
Meet the Ambassadors — veterans familiar with the ropes of Mass Deployment — who are going to lead teams of veterans to accomplish all of this impact! Taking on a leadership role involves fostering camaraderie, making sure their team accomplishes their tasks, and embodying what The Mission Continues family is all about.
Volunteering with The Mission Continues has exposed me to people that come from all walks of life
We live in a time when our nation is divided along many lines. Political affiliations, religious beliefs, and personal convictions all set people apart. We hold tight to our beliefs and our individuality, pledging allegiance to the causes we deem worthy.
There is nothing wrong with that.
Because I see that this division stems from the passion that American citizens have for the land we call home. Ultimately, we all want the best outcomes for our country; we strive for brotherhood and unity. We are all unique, and no two people are exactly the same.
I believe that’s what makes us strong as a nation.
And yet, among this division, there is an even more powerful force that can draw even the most divided close.
This force is service!
When we shift our focus to serving as a unit, which I’ve learned is The Mission Continues way, something occurs that is hard to put into words. It illuminates the human spirit. Continue reading “Divided We Serve”
Social equality – or the lack thereof — has played a deciding role in how communities identify, thrive, survive, or die. Every community — from the veteran community to the conservation community — has to actively find those voices that have been left out of the conversation, and empower them to be heard.
As I reflect on the works of African American legends like Dr. King, George Washington Carver, the Buffalo Soldiers, and other personal heroes of mine, I am prompted to be mindful where social, economic, and environmental justice for all can (and needs to) be intertwined.
February 15, 2018 By Rahiel Alemu, City Impact Manager
I’ve discovered that “helping” is not as simple as it sounds. It takes a lot more than just “showing up” to make the kind of impact that is actually needed in a community.
I have always been passionate about nonprofit work, and have dedicated my career to the nonprofit sector. Part of what fulfills and drives this passion is my background and my desire to pay it forward.
Let me take you back twenty years ago when Ethiopia instituted the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. It’s a lottery system with a prize of a life-changing opportunity: a plane ticket and green card to America. With its unveiling, tens of thousands of people applied.
My name is Jin Kong. I am a husband and a father, an immigrant and a veteran. I am not a rarity, but one of many immigrant stories from my military days.
One friend told me he walked across the Mexico/US border with his mother at a very young age. He was deported then and later came back to the US legally. Another medic was a Southeast-Asian Buddhist who converted to Mormonism and married before our deployment. One of our infantry brothers immigrated from Argentina. He took an injury to one eye in the war while serving as a sniper. He later became a photographer and traversed Iraq while the war was still on, armed only with a camera and a local guide.Continue reading “This Is for the Immigrant Veterans Who Inspired My Fellowship”
When I took over the Minneapolis 1st Platoon as Platoon Leader last summer, our future was uncertain, but my vision was not.
Shortly before I took over as the Minneapolis Platoon Leader there was a police involved shooting of a man named Philando Castile, a St. Paul resident. His death became national news when his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the aftermath on Facebook, and it was watched by thousands of people within 24 hours. His murder sparked protests throughout the Twin Cities, and finally forced many in my home to confront the very real fact that while we are progressive in many ways, Minnesota is segregated and a very difficult place for many minorities to live.
I choose to focus my anger, confusion and frustration with a system that was once again failing so many of its citizens, on positive engagement for the future. I wanted to focus on the long term, how to be a part of the healing of the community in any way I could. I had the privilege to be able to choose how I approached the aftermath of the death of Philando, and I never forgot that. Continue reading “In this Turbulent Time, This Is as Grassroots as I Can Get”