DENVER, Colo. (Mennonite Mission Network) – Record numbers of youth are turning to the DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) program for short-term service experiences.
The program has 2,674 participants registered for 2008 assignments, and applications continue to pour in. In 2007, DOOR worked with a total of 2,451 participants.
Increased attention to program promotion in recent years has influenced the rise in numbers. A growing respect for the program and strong word-of-mouth praise has also played into its growth.
“As we talk with people who have come to DOOR, we have a good number of people who come again or who come because they’ve heard about our program from people who experienced it,” said Christie Sears, assistant to the national DOOR director.
DOOR, one of Mennonite Mission Network’s Christian Service programs, offers organized urban experiences with service, worship and reflection for groups and individuals. DOOR has locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Hollywood, Miami, and San Antonio.
“The DOOR program challenges young people to see themselves as a part of the solution to some of the issues that we’re dealing with. DOOR brings out the call in people in a way that I haven’t seen in other programs,” said Hugo Saucedo, national program director and co-city director for San Antonio.
Saucedo notes that many former DOOR participants find themselves drawn toward careers in the social services sector, like teaching or social work.
The DOOR program partners with local agencies and strives to provide groups with a positive short-term mission experience that is respectful of the local community.
“DOOR has taken very seriously the criticisms of what damage short-term missions can do to a community, and we have worked very hard to maintain and tweak the program. We answer to the community first,” said Heidi Aspinwall, city director for DOOR in Miami.
DOOR places a full-time director in each city year-round so that they can build lasting relationships within each community.