The Mission Continues Conducts its First University-based Service Learning Project

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Graduate Students from Saint Louis University lead the way in evaluating the effectiveness of The Mission Continues veterans transition program

Learning the practice of program evaluation by working with The Mission Continues helped to give meaning to the numbers, said Beth Baugh, a Masters’ candidate student enrolled in the course. It inspired a real passion to learn and to do my best work.

Saint Louis University School of Social Work and The Mission Continues, the national veterans’ service organization, partnered to teach an innovative course this semester aimed at analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of the organization’s Fellowship program for post-9/11 veterans. Twelve graduate students from the Cape Girardeau cohort of the Masters of Social Work program at Saint Louis University joined with The Mission Continues team for a semester-long course titled, “Evaluation of Human Service Programs”. Working with data from more than two years of the program, their collaboration will help to ensure the quality of the Fellowship program for veterans, while working together helped to bridge the gap between civilians and veterans.

“The Mission Continues is a results-driven organization. We’re dedicated to rigorous program evaluation, which ensures that quality services are delivered to this generation of veterans,” said Aaron Scheinberg, Director of Strategy and Research, for The Mission Continues, and a US Army veteran who served in the Iraq war, “We were able to accomplish this goal, because of our partnership with Dr. Matthieu and her students at Saint Louis University. They’re making a real difference in supporting veterans successful transitions.”

Saint Louis University has a long history of case-based, reflective learning and teaching. Throughout the semester, the students engaged multiple stakeholders, from both academia and the community, to participate in the research process and then to assist in interpretation of the results. This hands-on approach is a “win-win” for both the organization and the participating students. It helps to more rapidly disseminate study findings and students gain real-world experience in data analysis, project development and client management. “Learning the practice of program evaluation by working with The Mission Continues helped to give meaning to the numbers,” said Beth Baugh, a Masters’ candidate student enrolled in the course “It inspired a real passion to learn and to do my best work for an organization that is making a difference in the life of veterans."

According to Monica Matthieu, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Saint Louis University, and a co-creator of the course, “The partnership with The Mission Continues is a critically important investment in the early growth for a St. Louis-based nonprofit. I’m excited our students have the opportunity to expand the impact of our research – to convey the meaning and value of the program to Social Work students who may be interested in serving veterans in their Social Work careers.”

Look for the final study results to be published with our research partners at The Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis later this year.

About The Mission Continues    
The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans successfully transition to post-military careers by reconnecting to their communities and their sense of purpose through volunteerism. Founded in 2007 by retired Navy SEAL and TIME 100 2013 honoree Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues has helped more than 600 post-9/11 veterans focus their talents and energy to tackle challenges facing us right here at home. Through a unique model that provides reciprocal benefit for the veteran and the local community—six-month service fellowships—veterans volunteer to help others and, through their service, build new skills that help them launch their civilian career. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @missioncontinue.

About Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution with campuses in St. Louis, Mo. and Madrid, Spain. SLU values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. For nearly 200 years, the University has gone beyond teaching facts and figures, encouraging students to form ideas and identities. Today, SLU students are nearly 14,000 strong, seeking to mold their lives into something stronger. The University has invested vast resources to advance academic programs and enhance the student experience. SLU also is a major research institution where premier researchers tackle local and global challenges. And the University's commitment to community service has earned it national acclaim and bolstered its status as a character-building college.

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Laura L'Esperance
The Mission Continues
(212) 430-6549
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