Five Million Hours of Service and Counting

Posted December 19, 2014

Feature from: The Mission Continues

In the spring of 2012, we pledged to engage veterans in 5 million hours of volunteer service by December of 2014. In partnership with Team Rubicon, The 6th Branch and The Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS), we are proud to report having reached our goal. But our work has only just begun.

More than one million men and women will transition from the military in the next five years. Recent studies by Pew Research Center and the USC School of Social Work suggest about half of them will struggle in their adjustment to life at home.

The challenge is clear, but the needs of veterans vary and the responses from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other supporting networks are disparate.

And still, each veteran’s experience regardless of occupation, branch of service or theater of war share’s a common core – a legacy of service that stretches back to the earliest days of our nation. It’s a legacy of service at war and at home, and in communities across the country, veterans are taking the lead.

In Baltimore, veterans with The 6th Branch are partnering with local volunteers to rebuild a community. In towns and cities nationwide, veterans are at the ready to respond to natural disasters with Team Rubicon, and volunteers with CNCS are addressing countless social, environmental and economic challenges.

At The Mission Continues, we empower veterans to serve our country in new ways, and as the lead nonprofit of the Leadership Pillar of Got Your 6, we are redeploying veterans in their communities to solve tough challenges.

In St. Louis, a former Lt. Commander in the United States Navy is raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention in local high schools. Just minutes away is another Mission Continues Fellow who is helping low income families access home repair services in times of need. Outside of their fellowships, both Fellows are also finding time to volunteer with local Mission Continues Service Platoon, a team of veterans mentoring at-risk youth.

Similar success stories exist nationwide, because in the end, volunteer service is a win-win. Over the past seven years, Mission Continues Fellows have provided nonprofit and community organizations combined more than $10 million in volunteer services.

Our findings also suggests continued service has a transformative impact on the volunteer. In post-fellowship assessments, Mission Continues Fellows self-report personal growth, a renewed sense of community, and stronger family relationships.

One veteran described the impact saying, “I learned that I was still a capable leader. My services are very much needed in my family, on my job, and in my community.” Another veteran said, “I felt lost for a period of time but have found my new sense of purpose in life.”

That’s why over the next two years, The Mission Continues be expanding our Service Platoon Program to more than 80 communities nationwide, and will continue deploying veterans through the Fellowship Program.

This generation of veterans deserves more than a “thank you.” If the past 13 years have shown us anything, it’s that the leadership, resolve and determination of our men and women in uniform knows no bounds, and that these are the very attributes we need most here at home.

We are proud of the more than five million hours of volunteer service performed over the past two years. Here’s to many more in the years to come.