The Mission Continues: Helping by Serving Others
Often what sets apart a great community is the philanthropy of its people. In this case, veterans make excellent neighbors. Called to serve, these soldiers know how to put others first, work as a team, and change lives – especially in the field.
But how do you do this at home?
Helping Soldiers Find Their Role
One young veteran, Natasha Young, found her way by connecting with The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that “challenges veterans to serve and lead in communities across America.” Natasha endured two deployments and high-stress duties, including writing incident reports of those lost in battle and sending their gear to loved ones. When she came home, life grew more complicated, as she balanced motherhood with a number of major illnesses.
When Natasha was medically discharged, she relied on a veteran’s outreach center to help her transition. Not long after, she decided to help others like her, earning a fellowship with The Mission Continues. On June 2, Natasha’s hard work and desire to give back “went live” via a major service project at the Lowell Outpatient Clinic.
What It’s All About
The Mission Continues has trained some 350 other fellows in the same way; they have also coordinated hundreds of service projects for veterans across the country. Developing community leaders is one inspiring way The Mission Continues founder and CEO Eric Greitens is helping veterans continue to serve even after they return home.
While some may get a military loan to jump start an organization, Eric grabbed a few of his friends to pool their funds to open The Mission Continues. This young Navy SEAL developed the idea after he visited a number of young Marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital. All of them showed an “unwavering desire to continue serving his country.” He wanted to give them an opportunity to shine by offering them a challenge, not charity.
The organization awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans. As a fellow, the soldiers serve for six months at a local nonprofit organization. The goal after this timeframe is for the veteran to achieve one of the following outcomes: full-time employment, pursuit of higher education, or a permanent role of service. For one fellow, Matthew Wolding, this directive has already led him to ideas about his future: “I found The Mission Continues from Student Veterans of America website. I was fascinated after checking the website. I love helping people, so I decided to apply. In the future, I plan to start my own nonprofit organization called Vets for Teens, which will focus on Veterans mentoring at-risk youth.”
In addition, the fellows coordinate a major service project at the end of their six-month training. This project brings other veterans and community members together. During their training, fellows aim to meet the organization’s five core values: work hard, trust, learn and grow, respect, and have fun.
Since 2007, The Mission Continues has won a number of awards, including being listed as one of The NonProfit Times’ Best Nonprofits to Work For in 2012. They’ve also been recognized by the Business Civic Leadership Center, Civilian Job News, St. Louis Business Journal, and the Social Venture Network.
How YOU can get involved
If applying your leadership skills in your local community in a positive way sounds great to you, take these next steps:
- Apply to become a part of the fellowship - Put your skills to use as a project leader in your community through their fellowship program.
- Participate in a service project – You can participate in a few different events such as volunteer weekends, races, and fundraisers.
- Donate to the program. Your financial support helps the organization train fellows and coordinate major local efforts in communities across the country.
Maybe, like Greitens and Wolding, you have aspirations to start an organization in your community. Our military lending company can help you achieve this dream.
If you’re a veteran, how have you applied your leadership skills in your community? What is your favorite way to serve others?