We’re Adapting and Our Mission Continues
Without question, this week has been another roller-coaster as more and more of us are under shelter-at-home orders, cabin fever is setting in, and uncertainty related to employment, housing and education impacts us and our loved ones. As much as it feels things are constantly changing right now, one thing that is unwavering is the motivation our veterans have to serve in under-resourced communities. Our traditional methods for activating veterans in service aren’t possible right now, and we’re moving fast to find a way around the obstacles in front of us. Ultimately though, our promise to connect veterans, offer them opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and ensure their impact in their communities remains intact and central to all of our planning.
Our team is healthy and focused on embracing the fundamental changes this situation brings to our work. This week, almost 70 members of our socially distant team came together remotely to connect and share updates for driving our mission to empower veterans to serve in communities during this uncertain time. We have formed a cross-functional working team to assess varied on-the-ground needs and put in place action plans to best activate at the local level. I am so proud of the ideas and strategies this team is generating, sourcing and implementing through our network—all to maximize opportunities to prepare our veteran leaders to do what they do best—lead.
I’d like to highlight a few of these ideas which enable us to serve our communities and continue to deliver high-quality training through our programs.
- As many of you know, just three weeks ago we launched our Women Veterans Leadership Program. Last week, that powerful cohort of 67 women veterans engaged in a live virtual storytelling training to sharpen their communication skills. The course introduced women veterans to the power of storytelling in society, the concept of the public narrative and how to focus their own leadership stories.
- While we were disappointed to have to cancel the final in-person gathering of our second cohort of the Service Leadership Corps, these leaders improvised and delivered their final capstone project virtually! Throughout this six-month program, participants applied their program learnings and engaged with local and national nonprofit organizations to help advance their goals. We hosted 12 small groups in virtual presentations this week with teams from across the country. Projects ranged from helping a regional food bank in Dallas to scale their volunteer program, to creating and implementing an awareness campaign for a green-construction training program for Atlanta’s refugee population. See a brief highlight reel here and check out the virtual presentation experience
- Our Platoon leaders are displaying the resilience and adaptability we’ve come to expect during challenging times. While in-person gatherings are on hold, Platoons are using this time to prepare for future service projects. To support their Operation Green Thumb partner, Boise 1st platoon is hosting a video-streamed project where members can learn how to plant and care for “foster” seedlings, which can later be transported to the local elementary school garden. In Washington, DC, Platoon Leader David Dubois filmed and shared a DIY video on Facebook to teach others how to grow, and when to plant, herb and vegetable seedlings at home, that can then be planted in a local community garden.
We are all living in a period of uncertainty and adjustment—your ideas are welcomed and your patience appreciated as we forge a path forward . We are grateful to all of you who have reached out and offered help and moral support to our team. Spring is here, there are brighter days ahead, and I look forward to sharing all the ways this group of extraordinary leaders shows us new ways to engage and lead. We have a landing page on our website where we will continue to share mental health resources and ideas for how you can serve your community. Until we can be together, please take care of yourself, check in with your loved ones, and let us know how we can support you.
Mary Beth Bruggeman
President, The Mission Continues