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To live in Hollywood means to seek the face of God amidst the juxtaposition of the fame, fortune, and the poverty just outside what’s captured in the camera frames. With the largest and most diverse homeless population in the nation, YAVs work in agencies and ministries that engage on multiple levels and encounter peripheral issues of economic injustice, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Concurrently, YAVs live and build relationships in a vibrant community with predominantly Central American immigrant neighbors, working towards mutual use and stewardship of a community house.
DOOR Hollywood is looking for young adults to participate in community, fellowship, outreach, worship, and hospitality in the second largest urban setting in the United States. We seek candidates who are interested in prayerfully exploring margins, contrasts, and systemic misunderstandings: Wealth, fame, and fortune intermingled with stifling poverty; A woman discovers Jesus within the church community that meets in the abandoned strip club she used to work at; Two young children, born in the United States, who've recently seen their mother deported from in front of their apartment; A man who once served as a writer on a hit television show now asking strangers for change so he can feed his dog at the end of each month, smiling regardlessly; A family who has been struggling for their own employment for weeks still invites a single mother and her two children over for carne asada tacos every Tuesday; A young man on parole for gang related crimes regularly takes his younger brother to volunteer on Skid Row. DOOR Hollywood invites you to come discover God working in surprising ways.
- Lives intentionally in a lower-income, urban community
- Gets involved in the local neighborhood and offers approximately 5-8 hours of intentional fellowship time that may seeks to serve and learn together with youth, families, and neighbors. This may include, but is not limited to: offering homework help, music lessons, learning how to make Tamales, Bible studies, basketball, crafts, movie nights. As a Dwell team, you are asked to determine, together, the nature of hospitality and engaged relationship building within the community.
- Builds each other up as Disciples of Jesus Christ through doing ministry as a team in the neighborhood, learning to accept different urban communities through understanding and relating to them as children of God, and being a voice that advocates justice for those in the city with little or no voice
- Is humble and willing to engage in mutual asset sharing, allowing for the minister to become the ministered to, and vice versa
- Serves in a local service agency 4 days each week, most likely involved in homelessness, poverty relief, or community building
- Is 18-29 years of age
- Reads books as a community that address what you will come across in the city of Hollywood, how to live out our faith in a way that is most glorifying to God, and how service and justice is directly linked with Scripture
- Spends one day per week with the other Dwellers in informal yet directed reflection on themes of ministry in the city or exploring and discovering what makes a city like Los Angeles so unique
- Raises a portion of the funds needed to sustain a simple lifestyle for the year
- Blogs, writes letters, gives speeches and sermons to supporters both locally and back home
- Engages in a local Church
- Is willing to navigate the city primarily on foot, bike, or public transit
- Sets aside a weekly time to spend with the other Dwellers to enjoy, encourage, pray, and check-in with each other
- Is supported in their faith journey through a beginning of the year orientation, retreats during the year, a local prayer partner, and an end-of-year reflection retreat
Some of the questions we hear most often are, “why does Hollywood need service?”, or “why would we come as missionaries to the glitz and glamour of a city paved with red carpets?” Hollywood is a district of Los Angeles, not an independent city. The word “Hollywood” also functions like a brand identity in the world’s imagination, in that it conjures up images of movie stars, fame, fortune, Bentleys and Aston Martins. (And, furthermore, those images are often shot in Beverly Hills!) While the Hollywood Hills are home to many celebrities, the neighborhood of Hollywood Presbyterian Church is one of the lowest-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Amidst world-renowned studios, much of the district feels like an industrial area. Given that Hollywood is also linked to the dreams of many would-be actors, musicians, and filmmakers, we have droves of people coming here every year from all around the world in hopes of “making it big.” The competition is huge, success is not easy, to say it mildly. Teams are often shocked to witness thousands of homeless folks walking up and down the streets, many of whom are in their 20s and 30s. Not only that, with the recent recession and the housing crash, many Los Angeleans find themselves unable to make ends meet, pay rent or mortgages, and many live “one paycheck away from homelessness.” This has deeply affected teachers, service workers, even screenwriters and actors.
And yet, amidst all that is bleak and troubling, there is much to celebrate in how God is working in Los Angeles and Hollywood. Stories of faith and perseverance within the neighborhood and within the homeless population are plentiful and awe-inspiring. There’s the joyful chimes of the vegetable truck coming through the neighborhood; the boisterous calls of the Tamale sellers walking down the sidewalks; the pick-up games of basketball and soccer and the many kids singing and laughing. On any given day, there may be an entire block sectioned off to film an episode of 24, or CSI : Los Angeles, or the next summer blockbuster. It’s a complicated and vibrant place, and on downtime, it can be fun to check out the pier at Santa Monica beach, walk down the star-studded sidewalk along Hollywood Blvd., go watch a movie blocks away from where it was filmed, visit Paramount Studios nextdoor. We hope you’ll come see the true Hollywood, with its very unique challenges as well as its very unique miracles.
DWELL will connect candidates to Hollywood to serve and learn from the community, learn from others already serving in ministry, assist in the ministries of the local churches and social service networks, and in the process form communities of young adults across the city who are dedicated to growing as disciples of Jesus Christ and advocates for justice.
Candidates will be interviewed and placed with Hollywood agencies and ministries based on the need of the local ministry and the gifts and talents of the candidate. After arriving in early September, the first days are set aside for orientation, exploring the city, reflecting on the upcoming year, reading, and settling in. Dwellers will serve in their ministry placement an average of 32 hours a week, and will also spend approximately 5 hours performing neighborhood ministry and outreach through La Casa de la Comunidad. DOOR Hollywood resides at a site with a rich history of neighborhood ministry, both for the neighbors and for the volunteers each year. Formally known as the Hollywood Urban Project, this building has served as a gathering place for over 20 years that included after-school tutoring and Bible studies, as well as a site of neighborhood events including Posadas, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, hosting speakers from Homeboy Industries, and language learning collaboration meetings.
Living in a predominantly Latino immigrant neighborhood, the opportunity to be enriched by the lives of families and youth who, despite facing serious obstacles such as illiteracy, gang violence, family separation, and poverty, are incredibly joyful, generous, and eager to welcome the Dwellers each year. This is a community that, if asked to, can reveal a great deal about cross-cultural friendships, about the Latino-American experience, and the joy of living generously amidst a sea of poverty. Dwellers will meet together as a team one day a week for directed Bible and/or book studies, prayer, experiential learning through city outings, or to discuss ministry and living issues. Several retreats are taken throughout the year, some meant to relax and rest, others meant to challenge and learn.
To raise up Christian urban ministers that seek Christ-led solutions to problems plaguing our country and our churches. To dwell amongst the people of Hollywood as Christ's example of living among us, and to humbly discover Christ already alive and well in the city. To make known and to know God's presence in the city of Hollywood by connecting to the surrounding community and being a part of a larger urban renewal movement.
- COMMUNITY - Volunteers will live in community with a diverse group of 4-6 Christian young adults, learn the everyday meaning of Christian love and perseverance, and work through differences. Time is set aside in the schedule each week to allow volunteers to develop relationships with people from the community in which they live and experience the joys and challenges of cross-cultural friendships.
- SPIRITUALITY - Volunteers will engage in prayer, worship, and reflection as an individual, team and community of teams. Each volunteer will receive support from the City Director and be matched to a personal prayer partner from the Los Angeles community. They will participate regularly in a local church and learn to apply their Christian beliefs in an urban setting. Volunteers will explore the Christian discipline of simplicity to better relate to their low-income neighbors while also experiencing the great dichotomy of wealth and poverty, so unavoidable in Hollywood.
- SERVICE - Volunteers will be matched with a service site during the course of the year. That service site will be determined by the volunteer's interest in urban issues. Opportunities include working with Hollywood’s vast and diverse homeless community, growing Latino population, serving in advocacy roles for justice issues, and other opportunities.
LOGISTICS - DWELL will provide housing, utilities, a community grocery budget, public transportation pass (or the monetary equivalent for those who wish to bring a car), retreats throughout the year, a modest monthly stipend, and health insurance. Volunteers will be expected to raise support of $6500, which will cover a portion of their living expenses for the year. Volunteers are also expected to regularly report their experiences to their home church, financial supporters, and the National DOOR community through blogs, letters, emails, and potential speaking engagements at local and home churches and universities.
PERIOD OF SERVICE -Minimum one year (beginning of September through beginning of August)
If interested, you may contact Matthew Schmitt at 323-872-3174 or Matthew@doornetwork.org.
DWELL provides a curriculum that brings together a diverse collection of books, articles, and experiences that our Dwellers read and discuss on a monthly basis throughout the year. The goal of our curriculum is to expose our participants to a variety of perspectives on a variety of subjects, ranging from interpersonal relationships, social justice, class disparities, to spiritual growth.
Trainings focus on various issues related to the various community service sites, churches, or neighborhood experiences. Topics include: immigration, literacy, racism and prejudice, affordable housing and the causes of homelessness, human trafficking, health care, and various other topics. Community Day is also a time that all Dwellers come together to eat, reflect on their weeks, and have fun in the city.
Hollywood is known for its entertainment industry and sunny weather; however, after one day here, it is clear that its poverty and social issues equal its celebrities and Hollywood starlets. Among the 11 million people living in LA County, 78,000-90,000 are homeless and hundreds of thousands are just one paycheck away from living on the streets. While this exists on every street corner, there are over 250,000 millionaires in this city alone.
Hollywood has much to offer, and Dwellers will find that living amongst so many different cultures and ethnicities can be exciting. From Koreatown to Little Armenia, Olvera Street to Little Ethiopia, it is these, and many other immigrant populations that have uniquely shaped Hollywood and Los Angeles.
DOOR allows young adults to come along side what God is already doing in Hollywood to serve others and discover more closely the majestic and humble character of our Lord and Savior as well as Christ’s deep love for people of all kinds. DOOR is a program designed to help inform, educate, challenge, and motivate individuals to respond to the issues and concerns facing urban America. DOOR exists to encourage and challenge individuals to consider ministry and service as a daily part of their lives – both inside and outside the church walls.
Peek into this year's team through Robert's experience: