Operation Charm City Charge sending volunteers for their fourth annual Mass Deployment
BALTIMORE – The desire to be of continued service is driving more than 80 U.S. military veterans from across the country to Baltimore for Operation Charm City Charge. The veterans are volunteers with The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to continue their service and empower communities with veteran talent, skills and preparedness to generate visible impact. Operation Charm City Charge is the organization’s fourth Mass Deployment, a team-based program that mobilizes veterans alongside local partners and volunteers in a single city for a week of community impact.
From June 20-27, the veterans will team up with city officials, community organizations and funding partners to address critical community needs throughout the Baltimore neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Curtis Bay, and Harlem Park West. Together, they will activate to support under-resourced areas and provide a boost to ongoing revitalization efforts through a series of service projects in Maryland’s Charm City.
“Baltimore is a city with a rich history and a bright future, and The Mission Continues is proud to connect veterans to communities in south and west Baltimore during Operation Charm City Charge,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “Our veteran volunteers will bring their skills, energy, and resources to serve alongside our dedicated community partners for a week of collaborative and high-impact service.”
The Mission Continues has been active in Baltimore for the past four years and will scale their local footprint through Operation Charm City Charge. For the event, they have collaborated with community and city organizations and agencies, developing service projects based on their needs and goals. The project sites include two of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, where volunteers will beautify parks to make them safer and more useful for residents, improve students’ learning environments in schools, and more.
Operation Charm City Charge is made possible in part by the NFL-Bob Woodruff Foundation “Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community” grant, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Under Armour, the Abell Foundation, CarMax, The Home Depot Foundation, and Lockheed Martin.
“Veterans are assets to our communities. The Mission Continues provides veterans with an outlet to take that engagement to the next level through impactful projects like Operation Charm City Charge,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, chief executive officer, Bob Woodruff Foundation. “By supporting this effort through our partnership with the NFL and their Salute to Service campaign, we are working to ensure veterans return home to healthy lifestyles and supportive communities.”
The week of service projects include:
Harlem Park West – Saturday, June 22
The Harlem West neighborhood has played essential roles in Baltimore’s history of activism but has also battled against poverty, violence, and unemployment. The veteran and community volunteers will work alongside their long-term partner, the Harlem Park West Community Association, to transform vacant areas through a series of art murals and landscaping, make improvements to a park to create gathering and game areas for seniors, and give a facelift to the former Roots and Branches School.
Farring-Baybrook Park Path – Sunday, June 23
Named after Maree Farring, an activist from Baltimore’s Brooklyn community, the park is one of the largest green spaces in the city and has a long history, dating back to World War II. Working with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks and Baltimore City Department of Planning’s INSPIRE program, the project will improve pedestrian access through the park to a new elementary/middle school building that will open in 2020. To help ensure the safety of students as they walk to and from school, the veteran and community volunteers will work together to remove the extensive overgrowth of the park path, fill in the walkway, repair path benches and brighten up the area with painted murals.
Benjamin Franklin High School – Monday, June 24
As the only high school in Baltimore’s Brooklyn and Curtis Bay neighborhoods, Benjamin Franklin High School not only provides educational resources for 500+ students, it also supports families and residents with an early childhood development program for teen parents, mental health support, and an eviction-prevention program through the United Way Ben Center. The veteran and community volunteers will overhaul the courtyard garden, create an outdoor classroom for alternative learning and beautify the campus for students.
Garrett Park and Brooklyn O’Malley Boys & Girls Club – Tuesday, June 25
Recognized as one of the community areas in need of the most revitalization, Garrett Park has the potential to be a positive outdoor environment for families, sports teams, adult recreation, and community events. The veteran and community volunteers from the Brooklyn O’Malley Boys & Girls Club, which is located within the park, will revamp the baseball field, upgrade both indoor and outdoor learning spaces, create a new meditation garden, and enhance walking paths with interactive games for residents to enjoy.
City of Refuge – Wednesday, June 26
City of Refuge Baltimore and its employees have dedicated themselves to helping residents and families find a manageable pathway out of poverty, focusing on five impact areas – daily essentials, housing, human trafficking, workforce development, and youth empowerment. The veteran and community volunteers will create an urban garden to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for families, build a clothing-donation pavilion and recycling shed, and clean up the area extensively. These improvements will go a long way in helping community members rise above day-to-day obstacles to establish a brighter tomorrow for future generations.
This weeklong activation in Baltimore exemplifies the work The Mission Continues and its veteran volunteers undertake year-round in 56 cities around the country through regular city-based service projects. Once the Mass Deployment concludes, these veteran volunteers will return home, equipped with new tools to impart in their communities. Meanwhile, the Baltimore area service platoons will continue to build on the progress made during the deployment with ongoing partnerships and projects.
To learn more, volunteer for or donate to Operation Charm City Charge, visit www.missioncontinues.org/deployments . You can also find information about additional events happening around the country on the website.
About The Mission Continues
The Mission Continues is a national veterans’ organization dedicated to the empowerment of veterans as community-based leaders. The nonprofit invests in veterans and under-resourced communities, developing new skill sets and equipping a growing veteran volunteer movement with the tools to drive positive change. Their programs in over 55 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 service model, veterans are provided opportunities for connection and personal growth while generating visible community impact.
To learn more, visit http://www.missioncontinues.org or follow us on Twitter at @missioncontinue.
About The Bob Woodruff Foundation
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $57 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes
About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the 50 largest private charitable foundations in the United States, is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of vulnerable people and families experiencing poverty. In 2019, the Foundation will provide approximately $125 million in grants to nonprofits that provide direct services in the areas of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services. The Foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaii, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily surrounding other priority communities). The Foundation’s trustees include Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Board Chair; Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.); Paula B. Pretlow; and Gordon Berlin. Rachel Garbow Monroe serves as President and CEO. For more information, please visit www.hjweinbergfoundation.org.
About Under Armour
Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a leading innovator, marketer and distributor of branded performance athletic apparel, footwear and accessories. Designed to make all athletes better, Under Armour’s UA Freedom initiative started in 2010 with a singular mission to support and inspire the brave men and women dedicated to serving and protecting our country, every day. In 2018, UA has provided over $2 million in resources to military, first responders and their families within four core areas: education, activity, mentorship and service.
About The Abell Foundation
The Abell Foundation is the largest private foundation serving only Maryland. The Foundation has acted as an agent of change by supporting innovative, results-oriented efforts to ameliorate the systemic social, economic, and environmental challenges encountered by those living in concentrated poverty. With a unique focus on Baltimore City, Abell provides grant funding to enterprising non-profits as well as research to better inform civic conversation. It also invests in new businesses and technologies that have the potential to benefit society and build Baltimore’s workforce.
CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, revolutionized the automotive retail industry by driving integrity, honesty and transparency in every interaction. CarMax continues to innovate and is currently rolling out an omni-channel experience, providing customers the option to complete transactions entirely from home, in store, or in a seamless combination of both. CarMax has more than 200 stores nationwide, and during the latest fiscal year sold nearly 750,000 used cars and 450,000 wholesale vehicles at its in-store auctions. With more than 25,000 associates, CarMax is proud to have been recognized for 15 consecutive years as one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit www.carmax.com.
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 more than $300 million in veteran causes and improved more than 43,000 veteran homes and facilities in 4,200 cities. In 2018, the Foundation pledged an additional $250 million to veteran causes taking the total commitment to half a billion by 2025.
To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community
About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.