Cultural awareness aids DOOR directorBy Mennonite Mission Network
DENVER — As a third-grader, Antonio Lucero held a picture of his private school classroom in his hand, closed his eyes and prayed that God would make the picture disappear.
He figured that if the picture was gone when he opened his eyes, it meant his entire private school experience was a dream, and he wouldn’t have to go back.
Lucero, now director of DOOR Denver, was raised in a poor neighborhood on Denver’s west side.
Growing up, the private school where he mingled with wealthy children at times felt like another world.
Friends from his neighborhood made fun of him for going to a different school; friends from his school made fun of him for being from a different neighbor-hood.
“My mom wanted me to go to private school to get a good education and go to college,” Lucero said. “I hated it, because it was a bunch of rich white kids that were different. It was a culture shock.”
But he stayed at the school, and by sixth or seventh grade found a way to live more comfortably in both of his worlds.
“I was an interesting kid to my [school] friends because of the stories I’d tell about my neighborhood,” he said. “People wanted to listen. I learned which language to use with the kids from home and which to use with the kids from school.”
Lucero’s ability to speak two cultural languages is a skill he carries with him into his work as the director of DOOR Denver, a position he’s held since Feb. 10.
DOOR, a joint program of Mennonite Mission Network and Presbyterian Church USA, invites young adults to “see the face of God in the city” through short-term trips for youth groups and longer periods of service for individuals.
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