Mission Accomplished Transition Services Officially Launches



Jeff Goronkin


Capital Region Organization Celebrates Global Youth Service Day with First Annual Community Dance-A-Thon Fundraiser

April 2014 (ALBANY) – As a teenager, Carmen Duncan was simultaneously homeless and on the brink of adulthood. Contrary to expectation, Ms. Duncan did not allow her circumstances to determine her future. She utilized transitional housing resources with Equinox and the help of a committed case worker to get an education and fulfill her dream of leading a business.

Today, Ms. Duncan is “paying it forward” as the founder and CEO of Mission Accomplished Transition Services (Mission Accomplished), a nonprofit with the mission to coach and train adolescents to become self-sufficient responsible adults who prepare for the global economy and make positive life choices.

She officially launched the organization at a press conference this morning at Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP). Guest speakers included Neenah Bland (Acting Executive Director of ACAP), the Honorable Gerard Maney (Albany Couty Family Court Judge), Marilyn Smith (Business Liaison to Assemblyman Paul Tonko) and Gary Stine (Principal of Spoken Word Solutions).

“I believe adolescents from all socioeconomic backgrounds are disenfranchised because they are a group that have a lot of power, intellect, influence, creativity and energy that people tend to misinterpret and misuse because they are young,” said Ms. Duncan.

“My findings encouraged me to establish an organization that supports adolescents to define their life purpose while learning the skills necessary to transition into adulthood successfully.”

Ms. Duncan received her A.A. from Maria College, B.S. in Psychology from Sage Colleges and her Master of Social Work and a certificate of Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University at Albany. She began piloting Mission Accomplished in 2012 and secured a supportive fiscal sponsor in Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) in 2013.

“Our role is to provide a foundation of support to help Mission Accomplished achieve its principal mission of supporting adolescents in the Capital Region,” said ACAP Acting Executive Director Neenah Bland. “The importance of an organization like Mission Accomplished is to provide our youth with support, direction and guidance to become model citizens. The youth of today will shape our future economy, ways of life and the world. We need to invest in them to ensure they have the tools, capabilities and nurturing needed to accomplish this.”

Gary Stine has been an executive coach for nearly 20 years and assists Ms. Duncan in her own continuing professional development. She says, “Gary is pushing me to stop hiding from my greatness, to congratulate myself and mean it, to look at myself as an executive who makes a huge impact on our community, and love myself for my contributions. What Gary is doing for me is what I want our coaching services to grow into. We want to cultivate young executives!”

Stine said, “With Mission Accomplished, Carmen is providing an invaluable service to the young adults in this community. If students want to stand out among the crowd when they first enter the workforce, if they want to get promoted, they need to have guidance and the right training. Professional and personal development as it relates to speaking, to dress, to etiquette are areas through which young people can make a strong impression with potential employers.”

On Saturday, April 12th Mission Accomplished will host a Dance-A-Thon in celebration of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD).

“GYSD, April 11 -13, is the world’s largest service event, and the only one dedicated to recognizing the contributions that young people make to their communities every day of the year” (GYSD.org). Youth around the globe are committing themselves to GYSD to help build the human and social capital of their communities by helping public service organizations to expand their services, raise funds, and complete projects.

This inaugural Dance-A-Thon is designed to engage adolescents in community service while also having fun! The Dance-A-Thon will be an annual fundraising and capacity building event to: (1) Show that adolescents can be, and are, active contributing members of society; (2) Strengthen adolescent personal and professional development needs; and (3) Highlight the leadership skills of young adults.

The event is being lead, coordinated and deployed by young adults under age 25 who are committed to service, capacity building and the personal and professional development of themselves and their peers – and of course, they have a passion for dance! Kiara Batista, a BSW student at the University at Albany and an intern with Mission Accomplished developed a committee of fellow students to organize the Dance-A-Thon. “We appreciate Nelia Quezada, Janel Strachan, Teresa Castillo and Jordan Lin for committing their time to making this event a success,” said Ms. Duncan.

The community is invited to commit to this day of service by dancing from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 12th at the Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) Elementary School in Albany’s Lincoln Park. The cost to participate is $20 per person, which includes light refreshments, prizes and an investment in Mission Accomplished. Tickets can be purchased online at http://matransitionservices.com/index.php/events/dance-a-thon.

Mission Accomplished aims to raise $5,000 – this will allow the organization to continue to employ youth facilitators, to further develop services and programs and to provide support that helps youth build upon their skills and life experiences to transition into the global workforce and adult life.

Founded in 2012 to help address the needs of our up and coming generation of leaders, Mission Accomplished offers services and programs to foster individual professional and personal development and prepare adolescents for productive careers and community and civic involvement. Participation in our programs and services leads teens and young adults to a life of self-determination, self-actualization, accountability and responsibility!

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