The Mission Continues to Deploy Veterans to Help Revitalize Los Angeles' Watts Neighborhood

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The veterans’ nonprofit seeks to create ongoing improvement to strengthen historic LA neighborhood with its third-annual Mass Deployment, “Operation Watts Is Worth It”

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More than 80 veterans from cities nationwide, as well as corporate partners, professional sports teams, city officials and local organizations, will come together June 21-28 for a series of high-impact projects to create a lasting, visible impact in Los Angeles’ Watts community.

The veterans are volunteers with The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to find growth, purpose and connection through community impact. Although the nonprofit has been active in the neighborhood for years, the week-long service marathon, dubbed Operation Watts Is Worth It, will provide a surge of resources to benefit under-resourced schools, aging public housing, under-utilized community spaces and much more.

“The Watts neighborhood has a long-established and vibrant identity, and it has preserved it in the face of a wide range of challenges,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and president of The Mission Continues. “Through their service, our veterans, partners and community volunteers seek to help the Watts community sustain its identity well into the future.”

The service projects taking place during Operations Watts is Worth It are made possible through donations and volunteers from platinum sponsor CarMax, and The Walt Disney Company, Target, The Home Depot Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, HBO, ToolBank USA and the LA Galaxy Foundation. Air travel for veteran participants is provided care of Southwest Airlines®, a partner of The Mission Continues. Additionally, alumni from the Los Angeles Dodgers and players from the LA Galaxy are invited to join veterans during select projects to help support the Watts community.

“CarMax is committed to providing community support and career opportunities to our military service members, veterans and their families, and our associates are energized to take part in this important project that will support the progress in this historic neighborhood,” said Matt Aman, U.S. Army veteran, president of The CarMax Foundation and CarMax’s assistant vice president of strategic initiative integration. “We’re honored to partner with The Mission Continues on its third annual Mass Deployment and we know the results of this mission will have a significant impact on the Watts community.”

Details about the five major Mass Deployment service projects happening throughout the week include:

Great Streets – Saturday, June 23
The first service project will start at the center of Watts, at 103rd Street and the surrounding blocks, an area that was heavily affected by the 1965 Watts Riots and today is part of the Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative. Veterans, along with volunteers from Target and the Watts community, will remove debris and clean up the sidewalks around the area, beautify the streets with murals and landscaping, and transform the area through the construction of a community space.

Nickerson Gardens – Sunday, June 24
In collaboration with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, veterans will team up with The Walt Disney Company to renovate, revamp and revitalize the green spaces in the Nickerson Gardens housing development. Activities include laying new sod on sports fields and installing new equipment, creating learning stations for local youth, and adding color and function to the different recreational spaces for shared community use.

David Starr Jordan High School – Monday, June 25
Los Angeles Dodgers alumni will work alongside students and veterans for the third day of work, which will benefit the David Starr Jordan High School. Participants will overhaul the school’s weight room, add vibrancy to the school’s grounds through landscaping, and convert an existing baseball field into a multi-sports field for students, fans and teams to enjoy.

99th Street Elementary School – Tuesday, June 26
Throughout the fourth service project, veterans and representatives from CarMax will work side-by-side with students and staff of the 99th Street Elementary School to create new spaces for parents to gather and youth to play. Work includes a full makeover of the existing Parent Center, redoing outdoor play areas for students and local residents, and repurposing an old garden space to create an outdoor classroom.

Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School – Wednesday, June 27
LA Galaxy staff, CarMax representatives, veterans and other volunteers will team up to provide a boost to the learning environment to help achieve the academic goals of Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary. Motivational murals featuring students’ artwork will be added, the old atrium will be converted into a new, quiet learning area, and new outdoor play spaces and an outdoor stage will be developed for students to enjoy for years to come.

This high-impact project series is only one example of the work led by The Mission Continues that happens around the country, year-round. Through this power of service, the organization empowers veterans to continue serving at home by coming together to solve specific challenges in their communities, which ultimately increases their personal growth, creates an ongoing, positive community impact and develops a greater sense of connectedness among veterans. After Operation Watts Is Worth It is complete, the veteran volunteers will return home equipped with new skills to create impact in their communities. In Los Angeles, local veteran service platoons will continue to build on the efforts made during the deployment through ongoing service projects in Watts.

To get involved with the 2018 Mass Deployment, whether it be through on-site volunteering during the service projects or through donation, head to http://www.missioncontinues.org/deployments/. More information about additional events happening around the country can also be found on the website.

About The Mission Continues
The Mission Continues is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to build stronger communities through service. Our programs in cities across the country deploy veteran volunteers alongside nonprofit partners and community leaders to improve educational resources, increase access to parks and green spaces, foster neighborhood identity, and more. Through this unique model, veterans build meaningful connections and grow as individuals while creating long-term, sustainable local impact. To learn more, visit http://www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter at @missioncontinue.

About CarMax
CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars and operates more than 190 stores in 41 states nationwide. CarMax revolutionized the auto industry by delivering the honest, transparent and high-integrity car buying experience customers want and deserve. For nearly 25 years, CarMax has made car buying more ethical, fair and stress-free by offering a no-haggle, no-hassle experience and an incredible selection of vehicles. CarMax makes selling your car easy too, by offering no-obligation appraisals good for seven days. At CarMax, we’ll buy your car even if you don’t buy ours®. CarMax has nearly 25,000 associates nationwide and for 14 consecutive years has been named as one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. During the 12 months ending February 28, 2018, the company retailed 721,512 used cars and sold 408,509 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions. For more information, access the CarMax website at http://www.carmax.com.

About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks, Studio Entertainment, Direct-to-Consumer and International; and Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its Fiscal Year 2017.

About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested a quarter of a billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 40,000 veteran homes and facilities in 2,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million dollars to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.

About Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. Nationally, we serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center provides care to more than 370,000 members in the southeast Los Angeles community. The nearly 700,000 square foot facility in Downey combines innovative technology with a warm touch that emphasizes patient comfort, healing and wellness. The hospital originally opened in Bellflower in 1965 and has served the community for the past 50 years. For more information follow us on twitter; @KPDowneyNews or go to: http://www.kp.org/downey.

About LA Galaxy Foundation
The Los Angeles Galaxy Foundation (LAGF), the official non-profit of the LA Galaxy, strives to serve the community in which the team works and plays. Through soccer programming that promotes inclusion for all athletes, education opportunities, and a strong spirit of volunteerism, LAGF is proud to facilitate over 150 events annually and has donated over $3.5 million to support the local Los Angeles community. For additional information, please visit http://www.lagalaxy.com.

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