I Became a Gladiator for the Environment

June 5, 2017
By David Riera, Fellow

Capitol Hill is like a Roman Colosseum, complete with all the ornate statues, marble surfaces and fountains. Both attract the affluent and impoverished alike, the streets filled with merchants, guards, and citizens waiting to attend the “games.” Who would have ever thought I would find myself participating in these great political games?

I traveled to Washington D.C. with the National Parks Conservation Association to ask Congress to protect our public lands. I visited their home office, a two floor hub filled with everything an environmentalist and champion for the parks could ever hope to have in order to prepare for the lengthy battles ahead. Continue reading “I Became a Gladiator for the Environment”

Jon Stewart Joins The Mission Continues for Earth Day

April 24, 2017

On Earth Day, TV personality and veteran advocate Jon Stewart joined Mission Continues volunteers to help restore the Bronx Forest. We worked with Bronx River Alliance, New York City Parks, and community volunteers to remove invasive species, add reinforcements to native species, blaze a new path in the Bronx Forest, and clean the Bronx River.

Jon Stewart welcomed the crowd of volunteers, saying, “Our country – our world – has so many problems, veterans and first responders are solutions waiting to happen. When we can combine veterans and first responders to our problems, we can do anything.”

It was heartening to see veterans from across New York City gather to protect the Bronx Forest’s natural landscape. This service project was one of many led by The Mission Continues where veterans mobilized together to solve challenges specific to their communities. In the Bronx, The Mission Continues’ local New York 2nd Service Platoon is committed to neighborhood beautification and arts development.

Continue reading “Jon Stewart Joins The Mission Continues for Earth Day”

#HerMission: Pittsburgh 1st Platoon Pioneers All-Women Service Project

April 14, 2017
By Stephanie Grimes, City Impact Manager

Whatever you did with your Saturday, the Pittsburgh 1st Service Platoon did something you’ll definitely want to hear about. This platoon pioneered a special kind of project on April 8th — one empowering women veterans and civilians.

This platoon tackles neighborhood revitalization in a part of Pittsburgh called Hazelwood, and this project’s objective was to give the library classroom at the Center of Life a makeover. Over 50 women veterans, family members, Center of Life staff, and Hazelwood residents, brought the vision of the Hazelwood’s children to reality.

Center of Life is a community empowerment organization in Hazelwood that offers academic, music and sports programming. They are committed to empowering families to bring economic revitalization to their communities. For this project, women of the Hazelwood community and female staff at Center of Life worked with women of the Pittsburgh 1st Platoon to plan, and execute the #HerMission Library Room Makeover project.

During the project planning stage, local Navy veteran Lauren DelRicci, jumped right in as a project lead. This was her first time serving with The Mission Continues, and she said, “I can already tell, the sense of group accomplishment will motivate me to continue serving.” As for this project’s significance, Lauren said, “An all-female service project shines as a beacon of inspiration for women everywhere, especially female veterans.”

We also welcomed women from Wounded Warrior Project, Team Rubicon and Team Red White and Blue to come out to serve alongside their sisters. Most impactful of all, we gave leadership roles to platoon members who hadn’t yet had the opportunity to step up and show us what they are made of. After trying their hand at leading, several women veterans expressed interest in taking on formal leadership roles within the platoon, and even the possibility of working towards becoming a Platoon Leader.

This project was funded through a generous grant the Center of Life received from The Heinz Endowments. Project activities included making puppets while teaching children how to sew and building a puppet theater and a reading loft. We painted the walls and bookshelves to go with the room’s new theme, “The Sunrise.” We ordered new lighting, organized books and games, upholstered new seating made from milk crates, and put together new furniture from IKEA.

By the end of the day, the platoon had inspired female veterans to join in unity through service at home while showing the children and families of Hazelwood that there are people who care about them and are invested in their success.

 

 

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.

Bravo Class of 2017: Changing Our Life Story by Helping Youth Do the Same

April 5, 2017

This weekend The Mission Continues is rising to new heights by coming to the mountainous city of Denver, Colorado, for our Bravo Class of 2017 Orientation. Orientation marks the beginning of a new chapter for our new fellows and platoon leaders, as they will embark on a new mission to serve again. In doing so, they will be changing the veteran narrative, where they step up to the plate to serve their country even after they’ve come home. We are pleased to welcome this new class of platoon leaders and fellows into our Mission Continues family. Their first act of service will take place at the Tennyson Center for Children, where they will kick off our new relationship with a day of meaningful impact. Continue reading “Bravo Class of 2017: Changing Our Life Story by Helping Youth Do the Same”

The Fellowship That Gave Me a Roadmap After the Military

March 24, 2017
Gabriel Ramos, Fellow Alum

160130-tmc-58
Gabriel Ramos at the Alpha 2016 Orientation service project.

I often dreamt of becoming a real life superhero.

Although the persona I’d originally envisioned for myself evolved and took different forms – be it a masked vigilante, a gallant cowboy, a fearless detective – my vision was unwavering: I wanted to save the world.

I finally settled on my hero of choice upon watching the opening credits to A Few Good Men when I was nine years old. One glimpse of the Marine Corps’ dress blues was all I needed to know that it was the uniform I was destined to wear.

Whatever reservations I might have had would be erased during the fall of my junior year of high school in 2001. I enlisted at the age of 17, and a year later I realized my dream of becoming part of the best my country had to offer. Continue reading “The Fellowship That Gave Me a Roadmap After the Military”

Teaming Two Unlikely Pairs in Orlando

March 17, 2017
By Melissa Geiwitz, Community Partner

The Mission Continues recently asked Home Builders Institute (HBI), “How are we doing?”

Immediately, we reminisced about the unique and special relationship The Mission Continues has helped forge between our Central Florida veterans and youth. In an effort to bring positive role models into the lives of juvenile justice-involved youth, a program called Project Bridge has teamed the two unlikely pairs, and it has led to meaningful and impactful work for so many.

Since September 2015, HBI and Eckerd Kids Project Bridge have partnered with The Mission Continues Orlando 1st Service Platoon. With this innovative partnership, veterans can continue serving at home while solving specific challenges in their communities.

In Orlando, the mission of the local platoon is working with Project Bridge youth who are at risk of failing in major tasks necessary to assure a productive life. Continue reading “Teaming Two Unlikely Pairs in Orlando”

Opening My Parachute and Landing on Solid Ground

December 1, 2016
By Derek Auguste, Fellow Alum

0-4

I joined the U.S. Army so that I could gain valuable skills and give my newborn daughter a better life. After enlisting, I soon discovered an incredible sense of purpose and realized I wanted to stay as long as I could. Mentoring young soldiers and seeing them grow brought me great pride. I still remember the days when I trained my soldiers how to parachute out of airplanes — how to make the jump, despite their fears, and trust their parachute would open.

By 2015 however, I realized that what my daughter needed most was my presence in her life. Of my eleven years of service, I had been away from home for nearly half of it, so I made the decision to hang up my uniform and return home to Miami.

Continue reading “Opening My Parachute and Landing on Solid Ground”

Learning and Growing at the Platoon Leader Summit

November 10, 2016

0n0a9259

This past week Platoon Leaders and Team Leaders gathered in Philadelphia for our annual Platoon Leader Summit. Over the weekend they learned skills from experts and each other that will help them create kickass service events, build relationships in their communities, and cultivate a thriving platoon.

Our Platoon Leaders are dedicated to making meaningful and sustainable impact in the communities they serve. They all have different leadership styles and different perspectives they bring to the table, and each person has something to help their peers learn and grow. Continue reading “Learning and Growing at the Platoon Leader Summit”