Highlights of the Discern Program

By Andrea Sawyer-Kirksey, Executive Director     

     I believe our Discerners have something to share with other youth because of the amount of leadership development training they receive. Discerners lead discussions around race and other social justice issues, and they create lesson plans so that they can provide well thought out and relevant information to our Discover participants.  

     Each year DOOR Chicago hires local youth and young adults for our summer long program (Discern), to help run our weekend and week-long program (Discover). Summer is DOOR Chicago’s busiest season. Service groups, composed primarily of young people, come to Chicago from all around the country to engage in intentional mission, service, and learning.  The key to this effort is the work of the Discern staff. These young people, mostly local, in college or taking time after high school for self-examination or vocational discernment, serve as guides to the various worksites, interpreters of the city and its gifts, and witnesses to what life is like in Chicago, especially for people of color. Our Discern staff helps educate and expose others to issues of race, poverty, homelessness, and hunger in Chicago.  They help our Discover participants connect faith and justice as they lead daily devotions and prayers.