My Military Motherhood

By Jeaniel Image, volunteer

This Mother’s Day I will be in my third trimester with my fourth child, who will be born while I am still serving in the reserves. In the 17 years I have served, the policy for pregnant women has changed dramatically for the better, though the demands of being a mother in the military was probably the greatest challenge I have faced.

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Why Detroit? Why The Mission Continues? It’s Easy—These Are My People

By Heather Byington, Service Leadership Corps member

When I left home in 1993, I vowed I’d never come back for anything longer than a visit. Home was Detroit. What I didn’t realize until I had some separation was that the negative feelings I had about the city were a result of my home life and the fact that one of my friends had been carjacked. He was murdered at 19, and his killers were 15 and 16-years old.

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An Interview with Service Leadership Corps Member Allison Sage

Allison Sage is an emerging leader of the veteran yoga community in Denver, Colorado. Allison began practicing yoga in 2012 after returning from a combat tour in Afghanistan. She views her yoga practice as a fundamental component of her recovery from PTS and depression. Her mission is to share trauma-informed yoga with fellow veterans who are struggling to adapt back to civilian life.

Part of Allison’s interest in our Service Leadership Corps program was to further improve her community outreach, as she hopes to bring trauma-informed yoga classes to her public classes as a way to empower everyone to find healing through yoga.

We interviewed Allison to get a deeper understanding of her perspective as a woman veteran.

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Years After Fellowship, Veteran Recalls Renewed Purpose

Once told by doctors she’d never be able to work, this veteran defied expectations by volunteering daily with The Mission Continues.

One serendipitous day at church, Howard Kympton met a veteran named Meeka McWilliams. After some chatting, they discovered they had something in common: The Mission Continues!

It turned out that Howard was the father of the president of The Mission Continues (Spencer Kympton), while Meeka had participated in its Fellowship Program in 2017. After hearing all that Meeka overcame as a veteran, Howard concluded that her story was “nothing short of remarkable.” He told us, “She’s an amazing young woman with a marvelous experience to share.” Today we share with you Meeka’s fellowship story, as told by her.

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My Transition Was Easy, Finding Meaning After Service Was Not

By Heather Byington

On paper, I’m one of those vets who lack job stability and goal attainment after serving. Nearly four years after retirement, I’m back to square one. I wear many part-time hats: platoon leader, personal trainer, student, and Lyft driver.  It’s not the traditional definition of success, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Including Women in our Stories of Service

By Aryanna Berringer, volunteer

No one’s story should be suppressed or ignored, but all too often, that is the case for women veterans. We strive to empower women veterans to be leaders in and through our programs. We want to highlight one such story in anticipation of our 4th annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit and in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Aryanna Berringer is a Women Veterans Leadership Summit attendee and an active volunteer with our Pittsburgh service platoons. Here is her story as told by her. If you’re as inspired by these stories as we are, consider donating. Your support empowers women veterans to realize their full potential as civic leaders.

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Why I’m Passionate about Veteran Community Leaders

What was at first a volunteer passion project has turned into a career.

By Nitza Rivera, volunteer

I have been able to see first-hand how something that may seem so insignificant to one person, can improve the quality of life for another.

Nitza interviewed by the press for her Veterans Day 2018 service.

I truly believe that veteran leadership in our communities is just as important for the veteran as it is for the community it’s impacting.

With all my military moves through the different parts of this country and abroad, one thing remains constant, and that is the lack of leadership within our communities. It doesn’t necessarily mean that communities don’t care, I think that a lot of the times community members don’t know who to reach out to or where to look for guidance.

Planting and Clearing Garden Beds at Seeds of Faith Community Garden

For me, and other veterans, leaving the service left a void in our passion to serve others. Having the opportunity to use our leadership experience to serve and help mentor members in our communities fills that void. It also provides a platform of peer support for other veterans within the community, and the opportunity for the community to interact and learn about veterans.

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How I Learned to Select a Diverse Team (And Why it Matters)

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.

Veterans at our 2018 Women Veteran Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

It matters in our work at The Mission Continues, because diverse teams are representative of the veterans and the community members that we serve, along with being generally more effective decision making bodies. Continue reading “How I Learned to Select a Diverse Team (And Why it Matters)”

A Platoon Leader Continues Mission After Tragedy

August 15, 2018
By Kristle Helmuth, Platoon Leader

This year marks the 6th year that I have been part of The Mission Continues in one capacity or another. From the fellowship, to being a platoon leader, to now with my new role as an external affairs intern. The journey hasn’t been an easy one, but what’s a journey without a little adventure, right?

I first found the organization years after I got out of the Army. I had spent several years caring for my husband who was wounded in Iraq, and I felt like I had lost myself in that. I was looking for something, anything I could grab onto that would be mine, something I did.

I felt like I had not accomplished anything since I got out, and I felt useless.

My Mission Continues Fellowship gave that pride back to me, along with a rekindled love for service, something that would become a part of the new me in ways I couldn’t anticipate. It also gave me some new skills and the confidence to make things happen. Continue reading “A Platoon Leader Continues Mission After Tragedy”