By Alwyn Rodriguez, volunteer

Yesterday

As the holidays came to a close, I took some time to reflect. I am truly grateful for my ability to continue to serve.

When I was discharged from the military, I went through numerous financial, professional, academic and even spiritual setbacks. The few holidays I can remember without having my family, not being in a comfortable bed, or eating my mom’s home cooking, was not ideal.

My time in the U.S. Navy seems both far and close at the same time. Yet I felt being able help and mingle with different people, especially when the holidays roll around, gave me a sense of purpose. But the holidays when I was with my brethren was spent in unfamiliar waters and lands, surrounded with mostly familiar faces was uplifting.

I rediscovered my esprit de corps when I joined The Mission Continues, and continue to flourish, to be more involved, and to improve others’ lives and the environment.

Today

I continued to struggle to regain my footing, and endured pain in my own way. Little did I know that the way was to dive head first into my community.

I found a community I thought would not understand me, or did not care. But once I changed my mentality, all positivity followed.

As a previous fellow and member of both the Miami and Broward 1st Service Platoons, continued service helps me develop a deeper connection with my community. Our service projects has broadened my knowledge about the environment, and working I enjoy working alongside communities and mentoring youth – which is a huge part of what I do now.

When I was in the Navy I traveled to different parts of the world. And now through my environmental stewardship volunteering with the GEN2050 program, I explore a different aspect of the world: healthy lifestyles, environmental sustainability, and financial literacy, all alongside my community’s youth.

The mission directly impacts volunteer youth and families by teaching them how to be self-sustaining and economically resilient, which influences the health of their community and themselves in a positive and very green way.

Tomorrow

I wake up each day, with a rekindled spiritual strength, wisdom and a faith in face of challenge – which I thought I could never do again.

It is my hope that my work with GEN2050 and the Miami/Broward Service Platoons influence youth and uplift sustainable practices we can adopt as individuals to alleviate pressures on our community.

I believe that hope, knowledge and service can do this. I have witnessed it many times over. The fellowship and dedication of the The Mission Continues service platoons and their members drives veterans to ceaselessly help and support the community.

Members like David Riera, Derek August, Angel Gual, and numerous others have helped me grow and learn. Through each mission I gain more appreciation for what we do, and I am proud to be associated with this hard-charging blue force.

The Mission Continues has rekindled my sense of service and added clarity to both my professional and personal objectives, providing me with the drive to effect positive and lasting community change and find inner peace.

A special thanks to GEN2050 mentors and youths for their help leading innovative thinking in the community of Miami Gardens.

While the season in white felt like I came and went, my service in blue feels like it will stay forever. Join the legacy in 2019. We need you!