America Supports You: Service Continues as Vets Become Community Leaders
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2008 Wounded and disabled veterans transitioning back into civilian life can continue serving their country through a program that helps them settle back into their communities as leaders.
The Center for Citizen Leadership was founded on two principles, said Eric Greitens, its chairman. The center first builds on veterans’ strengths.
“Our veterans possess incredible strength that comes from their service in combat. Some also have the strength that comes from learning to overcome and live with a disability,” he said.
The second principle, he said, is that the Center for Citizen Leadership does not offer charity; it offers a challenge.
“We challenge these men and women to continue life as citizen leaders, and we help them along the way,” he said.
That help comes through “Mission Continues,” the center’s fellowship program that awards grants to veterans to fund short-term service opportunities within their communities. In addition, they receive support from an engaged and caring network of mentors, Greitens said.
For veterans selected as “Mission Continues fellows,” the program is a full-time, 14-week commitment, said Paul Eisenstein, the center’s director of operations.
“Whether they build a program that offers troubled children the therapeutic experience of horseback riding or create a course that teaches wounded veterans how to Alpine ski, Mission Continues fellows have a direct impact on their communities,” he said.
The center is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.
“By having an [affiliation] with America Supports You, we can connect with hundreds of other organizations who serve and support our country’s veterans,” Einstein said. “We hope to partner with many of these organizations.”