Leadership development through Summer Service

Estefany Sanabria served with DOOR in Chicago

group of young adults outside in front of mountains Colorado

Estefany Sanabria is a third-year law student at DePaul University College of Law with a promising future. She was one of seven young adults from the Great Lakes region who spent this past summer participating in MCC’s Summer Service program.

The Summer Service program is a 10-week program for young adults of color in the U.S. that runs from June to August. The program encourages and strengthens leadership capabilities within young adults while nurturing a commitment to community engagement.

Sanabria’s assignment was in her hometown of Chicago with Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR), a faith-based organization committed to educating, challenging, and motivating participants to respond to marginalized communities' issues and concerns.  

Sanabria worked specifically with SheRoars, a leadership program from DOOR that focuses on entrepreneurship education, training and support for women of color. She was in charge of helping to coordinate the needs of the co-hort members, coaches and teaching collective. This also included administrative tasks and marketing through social media and a monthly newsletter.

According to Sanabria, each week she would participate in a planning meeting where she would receive assignments to complete during the week. She mostly worked virtually from home, but often connected with others through Zoom and telephone calls in her role.

young woman stands in front of a mountain
Estefany Sanabria enjoyed gathering with other Summer Service participants at the leadership development conference in Colorado in June. (Photo courtesy of Estefany Sanabria)

She first heard about the Summer Service program through her pastor at Humboldt Park United Methodist Church. “I decided to apply as it was specific to my interests, particularly the public interest and social justice component,” she explained. This wasn’t Sanabria’s first experience with MCC, as she also participated in the Summer Service program back in 2021 with DOOR.

One of the cornerstones of the Summer Service program is the leadership development aspect. “I learned that leadership can look like many different things,” said Sanabria. “Leadership looks different for each one of us, but doing good is a common goal.”

While Sanabria says her personality is typically shy and quiet, she felt empowered to share her voice through this experience. “I have learned to speak up and speak out about my beliefs and goals,” she reflected.

A high point of her summer was the leadership conference for Summer Service participants in June when 23 young adults gathered in Winter Park, Colorado. Session topics included innovative ways to combat systemic violence and the importance of looking out for others in one’s community.

“I got to meet people from all over the country participating in Summer Service,” explained Sanabria. “This was the highlight of my summer as I got to learn from people and how they deal with everyday conflicts that they face. This taught me lots of new perspectives and mindsets.”

Sanabria plans to become an immigration attorney working to uphold human rights. She points to the Summer Service program as helpful in working towards that goal. She explained, “Programs like Summer Service are important, because it’s a time to meet people in your age range who are also becoming leaders and trying to make a change in their society.”