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.
Tennyson is a nonprofit that provides children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and/or trauma so they can bravely and safely change their life story. These children have faced significant challenges at an early age, averaging 6-8 foster placements before they even come to Tennyson.
Wendy Coffman, Director of Marketing and Communications at Tennyson explained, “a lot of our kiddos have PTSD, not unlike a veteran might,” adding, “I think it will be amazing for the kiddos that are here that weekend to see that many people come on our campus and feel that kind of love and appreciation. Something a lot of our kids have never experienced.”
The weekend’s service project at Tennyson marks the beginning of a budding relationship with this nonprofit, as we hope to incorporate them into our operations in Denver and integrate them into The Mission Continues community. We think the impact at this nonprofit will be meaningful to the staff and the youth who participate in their programs. Coffman said, “We have a lot of volunteers over the course of the year come onto our campus to help. But the size and the scope of this project is something we’ve never seen before.”
The Mission Continues will be bringing the Denver 1st Platoon, and the new veterans in our fellowship and service platoon programs to work with faculty, staff, and students to refresh the interior of the center’s buildings by creating murals, painting, and remodeling offices into common areas for staff and faculty to better serve children. Campus revitalization will also include renovations to the outdoor playspace, landscaping, and more.
Melissa Shipley, Development Associate for Tennyson, has a personal connection to The Mission Continues. She is a member of our Denver 1st Platoon, and even attended Bravo Class of 2016’s service project. Melissa grew up in a military community, and has always sought out ways to be supportive in the veteran space. She has been involved with service projects for the Wounded Warrior Project and other programs. So for Melissa, a Mission Continues project at Tennyson is a perfect melding of her personal and professional life.
But most of all, Shipley knows what this project will mean for Tennyson’s youth. “Many of the children here have had little to no positive relationships with adults before coming to Tennyson. I think our relationship with The Mission Continues will create positive experiences and positive role models for our kiddos.” From her own experience, she knows “the excitement is contagious. I can’t wait to see how the kids respond to this transformation.”
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.