One Team. One Mission. #HerMission.

May 5, 2018

The Mission Continues - Women Veterans Leadership Summit 2018

Meet the group of exceptional women veterans who are on the frontlines of community change. There were a total of 75 participants attending the Women Veterans Leadership Summit, and while every woman who attended is a rockstar, we wanted to share a sample cross-section of 10 participants from across the country as examples of the variety of backgrounds, experiences, and stories that are represented at our summit each year.

This is #HerMission.

 

Continue reading “One Team. One Mission. #HerMission.”

Why I’m Looking Forward to Women Veterans Leadership Summit 2018

April 24, 2018
By Karen Quiles, Platoon Member

77 dynamic women veteran leaders will gather in DC for this weekend for our 3rd annual Women Veterans Leadership Summit. Together they’ll engage in communication and writing workshops, experience inspiring speakers, and grow their personal and professional networks.

This is a unique forum to exchange ideas and solutions around the challenges women veterans face while developing pathways to increase women veteran leadership within their communities.

As we countdown the days to the summit, we want to highlight some of our participants and how they came to The Mission Continues. Here’s Karen Quiles’s story.

 

How the Military Empowered Me

Mission Continues volunteers Karen Quiles and Frankie Perez in Puerto Rico

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I grew up in a very humble environment and I had a simple upbringing. Growing up in Puerto Rico was hard for me in many ways. I felt like a lot of programs were out of reach. I started working when I was 15 and became homeless in my late teens, on top of a lack of educational opportunities, family problems, and an unstable government.

I enlisted a little bit after 9/11 with the Marine Corps and had an opportunity to travel and live in other countries. The military was my ticket out of my negative environment. Enlisting opened so many doors that would have otherwise never been available to me. Continue reading “Why I’m Looking Forward to Women Veterans Leadership Summit 2018”

In Pittsburgh, the Story of How I Made My Veteran Identity Meaningful

March 29, 2018
By Patricia Gerhauser, Platoon Leader

Patricia Gerhauser is a Navy veteran and Mission Continues rockstar. She is not only a fellowship alumna, but is supervising a current fellow, and platoon leader for the Hazelwood Platoon in Pittsburgh, Pa. Patricia was recently selected to attend this year’s Women Veterans Leadership Summit. Read her story to get to know one of our kickass attendees. Continue reading “In Pittsburgh, the Story of How I Made My Veteran Identity Meaningful”

Women Reflect on Leading with #HerMission

March 28, 2018

Her Mission

“I raise up my voice – not so I can shout, but so those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” -Malala Yousafzai

Across the country, our women veterans have been raising their voices through service on behalf of children, families, and neighborhoods in need. They’ve helped youth to learn about healthy eating, caregivers to open pathways to economic success, and communities to rally around safe and uplifting public spaces.

The #HerMission campaign is our effort to not only recognize those successes and the incredible women who fuel The Mission Continues, but also to unify and catalyze a diverse group of women veterans who will shape our future.

It began last year in Pittsburgh, where the Hazelwood Platoon created the very first #HerMission project, with over 50 women veterans, family members, staff, and residents of the Hazelwood community helped renovate the library at Center of Life community empowerment organization.

This past weekend, nearly 150 women in Boston, Lowell, Pittsburgh, New York City, Newark, and central Florida came together to collectively raise their voices, and their call to act will reverberate for generations.

Their collective impact was worth over $20,000 dollars of labor. Here are reflections from a few volunteers on what the experience meant to them. Continue reading “Women Reflect on Leading with #HerMission”

Divided We Serve

March 15, 2018
By Lauren DelRicci, Platoon Member

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”

I Felt Like Myself Again at Mass Deployment

February 9, 2018
By Heather Cereste, Mass Deployment volunteer

Veteran Heather Cereste volunteering at Mass Deployment with The Mission Continues

My first experience with The Mission Continues was as a participant of Mass Deployment, which was dubbed Operation Westside Surge (OWS), and took place in Atlanta, Georgia that year. My volunteer work up until OWS, while enjoyable, hadn’t yet filled the void in me, or given me a new life’s purpose.

I sought something more in my life, but, until OWS, wasn’t quite sure what.

Today I share this journey with you. Continue reading “I Felt Like Myself Again at Mass Deployment”

Nailed It: Using My Fellowship to Construct a New Beginning

December 22, 2017
By Rana Moore, Fellow Alum

 

Residential construction is not a field in which many women choose to make their careers, but I have found that the time management, organization, strategy, and leadership skills — all skills I learned in the Marine Corps — are highly valuable there.

I originally joined the military wanting to make a little difference in the big world, and I wanted to challenge myself. I discovered that ability to make a difference and to challenge myself in the military. I served my country for five years, and when I had to leave to raise my children, it left me with a hole in my heart after which I found myself wandering and wondering what to do with my life after leaving the Corps.

I needed to be a part of the big picture again. The Mission Continues Fellowship Program gave me the opportunity to begin the path to a new career. My fellowship host site, Pensacola’s Habitat for Humanity, offered me the opportunity to make a big difference in a small community. Continue reading “Nailed It: Using My Fellowship to Construct a New Beginning”

“When I look at the youth in Boyle Heights, I see myself”

November 30, 2017
Majken Geiman, Former Platoon Leader

For a long time I let the fear of disappointment hold me back. Life in Chicago’s south side as the eldest child of a single mother was what you’d imagine. I attended a large public high school, spent hours every day commuting on the bus and subway, failed multiple classes, pawned 35 cents off my friends daily so that I could buy reduced-price lunches, and never intended to pursue education beyond a high school diploma.

Even if I made it as far as college, I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay for it.

All of that changed when I stumbled upon the United States Army’s website. Free college and a commission as an officer? I was sold. By some incredible stroke of luck, I made the cut. That unusual success changed my entire attitude toward life.

I suddenly had people telling me I could be a leader—that I had the ability to inspire others. Being afraid to try was replaced by a belief that I could lead and change the world.

After transitioning from active duty into the National Guard I didn’t have the same type of discipline or feeling of empowerment in my life. But then a Marine friend invited me to attend a service project with The Mission Continues in Pittsburgh.

It was incredible–for the first time I found myself surrounded by people who knew what I was going through and who I could talk and joke with veterans as if I’d known them for years. Finally that sense of purpose and leadership came back.

When I decided to move to Los Angeles I didn’t know anyone, but I did know how to look up the local platoon. I ended up joining the Los Angeles 2nd Platoon, which focuses on youth development and education in Boyle Heights, a low income neighborhood in East LA.

The opportunity to lead the platoon came in 2015. My time as a platoon leader transformed me in ways I never expected. I no longer let fear hold me back; instead I remember my strengths as a leader.

After two years of dedication, we have strong connections with several schools and organizations in Boyle Heights, and regularly hold service projects with and for the students.

I’ve taught a group of teenage girls how to use a drill, and saw their faces light up when they built a bench completely by themselves. I’ve talked to students about college and shared my own experiences. I’ve put veterans and kids together in charge of things when they weren’t sure they knew how, and watched them crush it!

When I look at the youth in Boyle Heights, I see myself. I see kids who have the drive and ability to make it, but who might be afraid to try.

The military helped me push myself at a time when I needed it the most. In the same way my mentors did, I hope I can look the youth of the next generation in the eye and tell them, genuinely, “you can change the world.”

With your support today, veterans like myself can make an impact in neighborhoods like Boyle Heights across the country. I serve and will continue to serve all of them. Please join me by giving this year.

 

Yours in Service,

Majken Geiman

 

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.

The Tampa Ten Join Operation Everglades City

November 18, 2017

During the weekend of October 27th-29th, a group of 30 veterans and civilians converged on Everglades City, FL, a small fishing community of roughly 400 residents. With a quarter of the community’s homes destroyed and deeply damaged by Hurricane Irma, our volunteers arrived with donations, tools and an unwavering spirit of service.

For the past two months, Floridians have faced the adversity of preparing for and recovering from the destruction that Hurricane Irma left in its wake. Measuring 650 miles wide and with storm force winds eclipsing 185 miles per hour, Irma was the strongest recorded storm in the history of the Atlantic.

With millions of residents without power and shelter, and thousands more with homes damaged and destroyed, the veteran leaders of The Mission Continues showed us once again why they are our country’s heroes.

Recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, veteran leaders and volunteers from our Service Platoons in Miami, Broward, Orlando and Tampa decided to join forces and pool resources to maximize their community impact in a community that is outside their normal purview.

Continue reading “The Tampa Ten Join Operation Everglades City”

Catching the Rain: Local Veterans Protect Hawaii’s Water

August 4, 2017

A delicate breeze. A glistening ocean. A beaming sun.

To most Americans, this is our picture of Hawaii. What we don’t picture is all the effort by its residents to keep the islands as beautiful as we imagine they are. But as inhabitants and stewards, it is clear to local Hawaiians that a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle is the best for the islands and future generations of residents.

Christina Finley, Platoon Leader for the Honolulu 1st Service Platoon is on a mission to protect Hawaii’s water. Luckily, she’s not alone — other organizations like Plastic Free Hawaii, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and Clean Water Hawaii all share the same vision. Meeting with them, as she said, inspired her “to help with all that they do to protect the waters of Hawaii. My vision is to lend a helping hand with these projects and assist in the solution of these problems.” Continue reading “Catching the Rain: Local Veterans Protect Hawaii’s Water”