Leading the Charge in Community Service and Veteran Support in Boston

Daily Point of Light # 7786 Apr 9, 2024

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Jill Clune. Read her story, and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.

Serving in the armed forces is a noble sacrifice, but for some, service goes beyond their time in the military. In the bustling city of Boston, Jill Clune dedicates her time to volunteering as the Boston platoon leader for nonprofit organization The Mission Continues. Jill leads a formidable team of veterans and volunteers, channeling their skills and energies into serving under-resourced communities.

Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to find new purpose through community service. Jill’s role is pivotal in mobilizing a platoon of service-minded individuals – both veterans and non-veterans – to support volunteering in the local community. Under her guidance, the platoon engages in various projects aimed at improving educational resources, tackling food insecurity, fostering neighborhood identity and more.

Jill’s leadership extends beyond organizing; it involves connecting with community partners in Boston’s under-resourced areas to pinpoint where volunteer efforts can have the most significant impact. Her dedication to recruiting veterans and non-veterans for community service projects is a testament to her ability to unite diverse groups around common goals.

From food distribution at the Greater Boston Food Bank to donation sorting at Cradles to Crayons to serving food to unhoused veterans at the New England Center and Home for Veterans, each initiative is chosen with care and executed with precision. With an average of 20 hours a month devoted to planning and executing community service projects, Jill’s dedication is a source of inspiration. Read on to find out more about how and why she volunteers.

Tell us about your volunteer role.

I’m the Mission Continues Boston platoon leader. That means that I lead a team of service-minded veterans to do volunteer projects in the local community. I like to make sure I have continuity between the veterans’ engagement with regular service projects as well as social events, to really give us a sense of connection. I also connect with community partners in under-resourced areas in the city to plan projects and bring our volunteers out to work alongside them.

The Mission Continues is not only located in Boston; it’s in over 40 other cities throughout the country.

As a veteran herself, Jill knows the power of having a sense of purpose, as well as camaraderie within the veteran community.

Why is this issue so important to you?

First, the importance of veterans getting connected with other veterans. As a veteran myself, I know it’s really crucial to have a sense of purpose, to feel like you matter and to help other people feel like they matter. Also, we’re out there in the community engaging in volunteer work with our community partners, which is really helping to improve educational resources or tackle issues like food insecurity or helping to foster neighborhood identity.

How did you get started with this initiative?

In addition to us working in the local community, The Mission Continues also offers leadership programs. I first got involved with the organization through the Women’s Veterans Leadership Program – a program that helps women veterans to hone in on their leadership skills and work on specific challenges unique to women veterans. The program helped me build a network of women veterans, gave me a sense of connection in that community where I had previously felt disconnected and supported my growth and confidence as a leader – which allowed me to then serve as the platoon leader for

The Mission Continues in Boston.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?

There have been manyrewarding moments. Last year, a small group of us had the opportunity to provide meals at the New England Center and Home for Veterans. The center provides free meals, housing assistance, training programs, healthcare and other things to veterans in Boston. This was a really great opportunity for our small group to work side-by-side, veterans serving veterans. It helped us to see the purpose, understand the bigger picture and get involved in our own community of military veterans.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

One of the lessons I’ve learned is that there are so many ways to serve and help out in the community, whether that’s packaging food, building planters for a community garden or doing a neighborhood cleanup. I’ve learned that support is needed all around. Progress and impact does take time, so sometimes you have to be a little patient!

I’ve also learned through my work as the platoon leader and serving in the city of Boston, I’ve seen my own sense of purpose grow. Serving alongside others has helped me to restore that sense of camaraderie that I was missing from my time in the military.

Why is it important for others to get involved with causes they care about?

As a military veteran, I have a sense of duty. I think a lot of us in our group do. I feel like it’s part of our duty, as part of a community, to get involved where we can.

Any advice for people who want to start volunteering?

Just start! Everybody is welcome. Don’t be afraid. All skill sets and all capabilities are needed. So don’t let fear hold you back. Come as often as you can, as often as your schedule permits. Just show up.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Jill? Find local volunteer opportunities.


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