January 21, 2015

The Mission Continues 2
Veterans gather following a service project at Charlie Class Orientation in September of 2014.

More than 100 veterans from across the country will gather in Houston this weekend and take new oaths of service as community leaders. The majority of the veterans in attendance are the newest recruits of The Mission Continues Fellowship Program, a competitive service program through which veterans volunteer with a local nonprofit organization for six months, building new community connections and gaining experience that will help them achieve full-time employment or pursue higher education.

Veterans from 23 states and will step into new roles of service with 83 unique nonprofit or community organizations including Youth Action Programs in New York, the Montgomery County Food Bank in Houston and Volunteers of America in Los Angeles.

The remaining veteran participants are training to become leaders of The Mission Continues Service Platoons – teams of veterans in cities across the country working together with local organizations to address pressing community issues.

Although their paths may differ over the next six months, a common bond of service unites each veteran.

“Post-9/11 veterans are unique – an all-volunteer force that is personally driven and compelled to serve others,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “The Mission Continues helps veterans achieve successful post-military transitions while simultaneously making a positive impact in neighborhoods across the country. We believe the veterans gathered here in Houston have the desire—and carry a responsibility—to continue their service to others, so that future generations have a positive legacy to follow.”

A look back Bravo Class Orientation in May of 2014

Fellows and Platoon Leaders will come together on Saturday, January 24th for a large-scale service mission at Kelso Elementary to tackle a variety of improvement projects including renovating the school’s library. The day of service will not only bring together a community of veterans, but help meet a dire need in the community.

Kelso Elementary serves more than 400 students in the south side of Houston, 93 percent of whom are considered disadvantaged and 64 percent are Hispanic. A donation from The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation will provide new books to fill the shelves in the completed library, including more bilingual and test preparation materials. Volunteers will also be applying new coats of paint to the school throughout the project. A donation of paint from Benjamin Moore will make that possible.

Following the service mission, volunteers and supporters from The Mission Continues will gather as Fellows and Platoon Leaders take new oaths of service to lead in their communities. The Fellowship Program Oath is modeled on the oath of enlistment of the United States Armed Forces and challenges each veteran to use the skills and values learned through military service to build stronger communities at home.

IMG_4210Fellows celebrate following the oath and pinning ceremony at Charlie Class Orientation in September of 2014.

This weekend would not be possible without the support of various individuals, foundations and organizations. Special thanks to Southwest Airlines, the official airline of The Mission Continues, for providing air support and ensuring the safe and timely travel of each veteran to Houston.

These veterans are among thousands of returning post-9/11 veterans who are finding a new sense of purpose on the home front by volunteering with The Mission Continues. To date, more than 3,000 veterans have deployed in their communities through our programs. Veterans contributed more 11.5 years of volunteer services through The Mission Continues in 2014, saving fellowship host and partner organizations more than $3.9 million.

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Follow The Mission Continues on social media this weekend for updates from Houston. Find us on Facebook and twitter using #ReportingForDuty.