Those of us at 12plus1 have a dream. We imagine a world that is unified, compassionate, empathetic, accepting, peaceful and just. It isn’t just a dream. We believe we have a program that will contribute to making that happen. We want to make that happen. Who doesn’t? What if we lived in a world that understood EVERY human being is a child of God and has a right to thrive and flourish? This is the mission of 12plus1 and the recipe to make this dream a reality involves service, community, faith and love. 12plus1 presents: Discovery House, a service-based gap experience for participants ages 18-24, that will address the most challenging issues in society. Imagine the positive impact a contingent of people who commit to service, while living in community and rooted in a life of reflection, would make to Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin!
Imagine the difference a team of committed volunteers would offer non-profit organizations working to make Milwaukee a better place. 12plus1 is working with non-profits who are serving those impacted by abuse, addiction, homelessness, human trafficking, imprisonment, poverty, racism and violence. Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the country with an extremely high infant mortality rate. This service opportunity strives to bring people together to lessen this reality. Service is a tool to establish a mutual exchange of gifts. It is difficult to dismiss a suffering person when we know their name and their story. Imagine a society that would compassionately respond to the needs of others because we recognize that when one person suffers, we all suffer.
Imagine a group of volunteers living simply in a Christian based community. This community will present a unique opportunity for personal growth. Members of the community will be responsible for the management of the house such as: cleaning, cooking, budgeting, shopping, and conflict resolution. These are skills some may take for granted, but they are not passed on as readily as they once were. Imagine a generation who is able to adapt, be authentic, resolve conflict, provide creative solutions and express their faith and values in a rapidly changing culture.
Imagine an opportunity for participants to synthesize and integrate these experiences into their own lives. All volunteers participate in weekly formation sessions and meet monthly with a mentor. During their reflection times they will have an opportunity to dive into deep human questions, learn about social issues and apply Gospel values. Mentor meetings will focus on identifying strengths and limits while discerning their academic and professional future. Imagine a workplace filled with a contingent of focused, mission-driven, servant leaders.
Discovery House will be a life changing experience. Participants will gain focus and purpose which will influence their professional and academic goals. They will complete the experience having grown in faith, character, integrity, leadership ability, emotional intelligence and conflict resolution. They will be compassionate and empathetic. They will approach life with flexibility and authenticity. Imagine the difference they will make to their families, friends, colleagues, and those who are suffering.
We have an active imagination and although we are starting local, in Milwaukee, the dream is big! Imagine a national movement that encourages (requires?) young people to spend a year serving others. Imagine how this could bridge the socio-economic, racial, gender, religious, political divides. Perhaps human nature is such that this may be an impossible dream; but it is a noble dream! It is dream that is worth pursuing and will not be denied by those who prefer negativity over hope and imagination! It is a dream that needs you. Even if this ministry only moves society one fraction toward this dream, imagine the impact that fraction would make. Imagine our country with a force of young adults who, long after their service commitment, have a heart that is passionately dedicated to service and the civic good.
Joe Nettesheim is the founder and director of 12plus1. He has worked in Church ministry for twenty five years in the area of adult and youth formation and service learning. He has also been an Executive Director for nonprofit organizations. You may contact Joe