Summer DOOR reflections

Chicago DOOR reflections by MYF

July 4, 2016

For our first day, two groups went to The Boulevard, a place where people discharged from hospitals who have no place to live can find temporary shelter, recovery, and a place to plan their future. We helped in the kitchen, making hotdogs, toppings, and baked beans for the residents. We were all busy for much of the morning and were surprised to find out that the job that around ten of us did usually had to be done by one or two cooks. After cooking, we served the residents. The Boulevard is a unique shelter, and greatly needed. With a structured plan, it helps homeless people recover and heal from illnesses, injuries, and addictions. It helps them plan for the future and find housing for after their stay.  The cook we worked with, Delora, told us that she could have worked at a fancy restaurant after going to culinary school, but she wanted to use her talents to help people, which was really cool to hear. It was great experience and I'm looking forward to many more this week.  

- Audrey Hershberger

So on the first service day I went to Boulevard, a facility that helps people who just got out of the hospital and don't have a home any more. There, I worked in the kitchen preparing their lunch and then serving it to them. It was an intersting experience to see how different people each have their own stories and personalities

- Emily Troyer

July 5, 2016

    Today (Tuesday) we were able to do a bit of roaming through Chicago. As we traveled by subway and bus through the different parts and areas of Chicago I was just intrigued by how it seemed every new little part of Chicago had its own personality. The first place we got to travel through was a little area that seemed down and like it had been a victim of time, but at the same time as you saw children playing in parks and such you felt a sense of hope and new life. Then all of a sudden that area suddenly turned into a more prosperous and populated area with no signs of there being less prosperous areas around it. To me, coming from the very all around rural area that I live in, that was just a really different, interesting, and awesome experience for me. Then tonight for worship was a very powerful lecture on discrimination, racism and sexism led by Andrea Sawyer-Kirksey, city director for door in Chicago who gave all of us youth a look at many different perspectives on all sorts of different types of tensions in society.

-Joey Gatti

   Today isn't the best day to write a reflection but in some ways it is. Today my group went to a garden lot the city, there was a miss communication and we couldn't do anything so we took a trip into the city and did some tourist things. My week in all has made me think about how I look at people and has made me think before judging someone by there appearance. That leads me into the meeting we had after dinner. We watched a Ted talk on how people don't look at a whole picture or story. For example we talked about the media and how all you hear is the bad and no one ever says or writes stuff about how the community is helping do things or how organizations are helping to make the problem better. My thoughts coming into Chicago were what you don't want a one story view on the city. People talk about this city and all you hear are the bad things. I have meet people hear that are twice as caring and helpful than anywhere else I've been. One person in particular stands out. We went earlier in the week to a place called the bolivard and it's a place that takes in people that have problems dealing with drugs or have had injuries and can't work and they are there until they can work or get off of drugs. Anyways there is a cook there named dee and she runs an entire kitchen by herself. She told me and Muhammad are guy that was leading us that day a story how a pot fell and hit her in the head and she got really dizzy but continued to work and keep going and it kind of reminded me how amazing people are but she feeds about 40 to 50 people by herself and she has been doing that for four years. My week has been great so far and I can't wait to meet more people and learn more in the beautiful windy city. 

Hunter Yoder

July 6, 2016

Last night was a great night- we slept with thunderstorms. However, in the morning, it wasn't quite as great when the continuing rain threw a wrench in our plans. Two work groups, mine included, did a little rearranging in order to be able to go to different work sites. Jared, Gio, Hayleigh, Jeff, and a small group from Goshen set off on the hour and fifteen minute transit to Ada Niles.

Ada Niles is a daily care center for disabled adults. Earlier in the week, my group had been disappointed when we got to Ada Niles to find it closed for the fourth. That's why I was very excited to get the opportunity to go back today.

When we got to the neighborhood where Ada Niles is, there lots of huge branches and power lines down. There was a crew with a few trucks working at cleaning up. When we arrived at Ada Niles, we learned from a staff member that due to no power, they weren't having volunteer groups today. Honestly, I was a little annoyed. Here we traveled an hour and fifteen minutes to get here, only to find out it was closed. We then had to take the same amount of time to go back to the church we're staying at.

When we got back to the church, we ate lunch and one of the DOOR leaders gave out group a new assignment. We were going out to a neighborhood near Ada Niles. We would be working under a bridge (the bridge was over a road) to work on a huge mural with an organization called Green Star Movement.

When we got there and I saw what this organization was doing, I was very excited. This group had chalked and traced out the design that was going to go on this huge concrete wall. They had also started putting tiles and mirror in place on the wall. We were privileged to be able to help out tile on the wall! The leader, an awesome guy named Jordan, showed us the method for applying the tile to the wall, using mortar, and delegated different spots on the mural for all of us to work on.

I set out to work on a section of the wall at the very top. I outlined the sky around a train. I quickly got messy, with mortar all over my fingers from spreading it on the tiles. I could either use and pick through and choose the pieces from the bucket, or I could use a hammer to adjust the pieces from the bucket to fit the space I needed. Usually though I just looked until I found the perfect piece, which was part of the fun. There was something about making the pieces for well together, like a puzzle, that was really satisfying.

While I worked I got to talk to Jordan more. He talked about some of the different places the organization has done murals- schools, under bridges, and more. He told us about all the different people that have volunteered to help- kids in school as young as fourth grade, high school kids doing voluntary service in the summers, and even people from neighborhood where a mural is being done who just want to help. I felt honored to be able to be a part of this project. Even better, people walking by would stop and tell us how great it looked, that we were going a good job, and that they couldn't wait to see it when it was finished. Some people just honked and waved from the road. Even though we were such a tiny piece in this puzzle, it was still great to hear the words of locals who liked it and liked what we were doing.

We only got to help for about an hour and a half, and it felt like we didn't even do very much in the grand scheme of the mural. However, it was a great day, and I hope in the future I can go back to the south side of Chicago, go north on Dorchester street, and find the mural in which I placed blue tiles in the sky. 

- Madeline Kauffman


Today we went to cornerstone. We started off cooking the food then after that we some of us served. I was one who served. While I was serving    I noticed something I wasn't expecting and that was that they we're all happy. Then I thought back to the video we watched about hearing just one story. I just heard one story and I thought about all of them as a untrue stereotype which changed very quickly after arriving there. 

Clay Gerber


My time in Chicago has been mind-blowing. I knew going into the trip that I was going to experience things I never had before. The things that we take for granted every day and don't always realize that some people do'nt have these things and are still happy and appreciative for what they do have. Many of the people that we met in Chicago are going through tough times and have had many obstacles in their life, but before you get to hear their story, you will never know why they are homeless or in the positions that they are. Mosto f the places where we are staying would be an appalling place to live and absolutely hard way to live as a young kid.

During the first day on the job my group was to work at a soup kitchen to feed homeless people. I got to talk to some of them and the one actually had several books that were published. He also had many challenges in life so her couldn't keep writing. He had to get a new job, but while at his new job, doctors diagnosed him with arthritis so I got fired form that job. Now he is working at the soup kitchen where I worked. For the 4th of July we got to see some extravagent fireworks. The second day we also worked at the same placeand the people that come in, even though they have so litle and the places they stay are appalling they are still happy in what they do have. We also go to see the Chicago conservaory. hen on Wednesday our gropu got to go paint some rooms for someone's house.

- Colton Commers


Today my group China Town 1 and 2 had gone to cornerstone. We had gone by metro and let's just say it was very crowded. Never go when there's a cubs game. We cut up meat and made pizzas. Served to many people and families. Some people came back for a lot more pizza and bags of chips. We came back and relaxed until we left for millennium park. We had gone to the taste of Chicago festival. We bought a lot of food samples so we bought more and wouldn't feel fat. All together it was a great day in chicago.

Alexis Yoder 

July 8, 2016

Today we had a supper that consisted of a small bowl of soup and bread. We were then instructed to not eat for the rest of the day. After we ate the intentionally meager meal, we  learned and discussed about hunger in the United States.

Going without food is turning out to be harder then I had previously anticipated. It is not painful, but the uncomfortable feeling in my gut is a constant reminder of the injustice that is dealt to some people. I know that I will eat in the morning, or that at anytime I can break my fast, but I've been imagining a life where I don't know when I'll be able to eat. It's unsettling. Because while I'm going half a day without eating, there's people that eat less often with smaller portions. I believe starvation must be one of the worst ways to die; you're aware that your body is slowly shutting down, but you are powerless to help yourself. It is hard to understand the reality presented to me in Chicago, because I have never truly been hungry or unsure if I could afford to eat tomorrow. Even so, I hope that organizations, like DOOR, continue to alleviate the pain of the less fortunate. 

- Matt Troyer