Veterans nationwide are being called to report for duty again. But this time, the theater of operations is their own communities as members of community service platoons led by The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans successfully transition to post-military lives through volunteerism.
Led by post-9/11 veterans who have completed The Mission Continues six month service fellowship program, each platoon adopts a community-focused mission and mobilizes around monthly volunteer opportunities. Veterans of all generations are invited to enlist in the 30 service platoons launching nationwide over the next year where they’ll work in partnership with community organizations, local companies and area volunteers to have a positive, lasting impact on challenging issues facing their city.
“Service platoons focus the energies of dozens, or even hundreds of veterans and mobilize supporters to solve pressing challenges,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “Platoons are the next step in our work to empower veterans to serve their country in new ways. They become the veteran’s new units here at home and platoons provide the tools for veterans to make a difference.”
An Enduring Spirit of Service
Five pilot platoons have already deployed, adopting missions and recruiting volunteers in Los Angeles, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Each platoon’s mission is specific to the community it serves, including addressing hunger, homelessness and mentoring at-risk youth.
The Los Angeles platoon is led by U.S. Navy veteran Robert Contreras. After nearly 10 years in the U.S. Navy, The Mission Continues awarded Contreras a fellowship volunteering for six months at the Santa Monica College Veterans Service Center, where he connected more than 700 new veterans on campus with resources to help them become better students and more capable job seekers. Since completing his fellowship earlier this year, Contreras has enrolled as a full-time student pursuing his bachelor’s in anthropology.
“My fellowship with The Mission Continues helped me reconnect to my community and navigate the next steps in my post-military career,” said Contreras. “As a platoon leader I have an opportunity not only to continue serving my community, but also to help other veterans find a new path forward through service and volunteerism.”
Later this year, platoons will begin forming in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Houston; New York; Norfolk, Va. and St. Louis, with an additional 20 platoons to come in 2014. To sign up for a platoon or pledge your support visit: www.missioncontinues.org/platoons.
About The Mission Continues
The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to serve their country in new ways through two innovative and action-oriented programs. The first, The Mission Continues Fellowship harnesses veterans’ strengths, skills and compassion and empowers them to serve in their community on a daily basis over the course of six months. The second, The Mission Continues Service Platoons brings together teams of veterans with local community organizations and volunteers to build stronger communities. The Mission Continues has helped thousands of post-9/11 veterans focus their talents and energy to tackle challenges facing us right here at home. Through a unique model that provides reciprocal benefit for the veteran and the local community, veterans volunteer to help others and, through their service, build new skills that help them launch their civilian career. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.