Dwell is one facet of the DOOR program, a partner to Mennonite Mission Network’s Christian Service ministries. Dwell participants are invited to be a part of God’s transformative work in the city by spending a year living in an intentional Christian community while serving at an area non-profit organization.
In Chicago, rather than partnering with homeless shelters and other social work agencies, Dwell volunteers will work in agencies that directly address policy and the systems that perpetuate injustice throughout the city.
“We are recruiting the people that have not typically been recruited for volunteer positions, like business majors, accounting majors, city planners, and folks with community development background,” said Krista Dutt, DOOR national program director and the director for Dwell in Chicago.
Volunteers will use their gifts and skills with local agencies to work at policy advocacy, grant writing, data gathering and a number of other behind-the-scenes tasks that have direct impact on education and housing policies, environmental justice, and other causes throughout the city.
Chicago is a good place to test these skills. According to Dutt, in the initial city planning years ago, Chicago was laid out with highways and buildings meant to separate people by class, race and other criteria. Public transportation is still laid out in ways that naturally make it difficult to get to and from certain neighborhoods. In their work, volunteers will be thinking about ways to undo these systems of injustice.
“At DOOR, our philosophy of ministry emphasizes seeing the face of God in the city. We want to be a mutual exchange of info and ideas between the folks that come to volunteer and the city,” said Dutt. “This form of data gathering and mutual exchange is a new piece for us. DOOR has always advocated in some ways, but this is another step.”
For more information on DOOR’s Dwell program and to apply online, visit Service.MennoniteMission.net. Dwell placements are also currently available in Atlanta, Denver, Hollywood, Miami and San Antonio.