This post is for all my fellow Gen-Z folks out there. School is out. Summer is upon us. You have probably already made plans on your next step after high school. Or maybe you’ve been out of high school and you are debating your next move. Well, I’d like to share an experience that I’d like to recommend to you, if you are unsure on your next move.
The Los Angeles Dream Center’s, leadership school. Dream Center Leadership School (DCLS) is a leadership program where young adults can experience hands-on ministry, outreach, bible classes, and the learning of practical leadership skills, all while being fully immersed in community. The DCLS’s’ goal is to serve and empower gospel-centered leaders who shape culture and make lasting change. This program has not only transformed my life, but the lives of so many others.
I graduated from this program earlier this month and now that I am back home in Ohio, I cannot help but reflect on all the priceless memories and experiences that transformed me in ways I did not think possible. I’d like to share a little bit more about who I was and where I was before I decided to apply to DCLS.
Before coming to los angeles
I heard about DCLS back in 2015 when my family and I came to Los Angeles. My family volunteered during Dream Center’s annual backpack giveaway with my brother who was working for the Dream Center at the time. When I stepped onto the blacktop during the event, the Lord spoke to me in a new way. I could see the tangible love of Jesus being poured out through the people at the Dream Center. At that moment I knew I wanted to be a small part of the vision.
A few months after visiting LA, I thought about signing up for DCLS after graduating high school. Fear instantly kicked in. How could a young girl from the midwest move all the way to Los Angeles? I put moving to LA on the back burner for a few years, went to community college, and started working a 9-5 job. I knew that the Lord had more for me, but I didn’t know what that would look like.
I heard Jesus speaking to me about going to the Dream Center at the start of 2020. At that moment I signed up for DCLS, and moved to LA in September 2020 during the pandemic. Since then, my life has been completely transformed by Jesus.
Taking a leap of faith
When I first arrived at the program, I had no idea of what my time here would look like at the Dream Center. I was in a new state, surrounded by a Godly community and new opportunities. During my first year I was anxious about being with a new community, and was still trying to heal from past hurts within friendships. I was very introverted during my first year of DCLS, so being around people I didn’t know was definitely an adjustment.
Before coming to LA I did not believe I was loved to my core, I always had a thought in my mind that others would not accept me for me. With that mindset, my confidence level was very low, but thanks to Jesus, a few of my fellow second years, and DCLS mentors, I was able to walk in that confidence of who Jesus says I am. I have learned to accept being loved and to be myself unapologetically.
some things I’ve learned during my time at the dream center
I have learned to trust God in such an unknown season of my life and to surrender the parts of me I was still holding onto. My first year of DCLS was all about development in my relationship with Jesus, learning to lead well, and believing that my confidence comes from Jesus and nothing else. The Lord spoke with new confidence over me in my first year.
During my second year at DCLS, I was able to be in the worship track which was a beautiful journey to watch unfold. Worship is a beautiful thing, and I love how the Lord ministers to others, breaks off chains, and restores what is broken during times of worship. I was able to learn from Imani who is my track leader for worship, and he has been such a blessing to me. I want to pursue worship now that I am back home, which I now have more confidence to lead worship.
I have also learned to live with intentionality in my relationships, community, and with the individuals I meet on a daily basis. I have realized, during my time with DCLS, that Jesus calls us to live life with one another and be in community. I have learned to be intentional in the little things, whether that’s watching a movie with my girls, going to 7Eleven for a late night big gulp run, or going to the diner to eat with friends. Intentionality matters!
Outreach was another track that taught me how to love and serve with intent. There were times where I felt discouraged when I served during outreach and wondered if what I was doing and saying mattered. I was reminded that consistency matters even when no one opened their door to receive our help. The families and individuals we visited in the community knew that the Dream Center always showed up for them whether they were ready to accept our help or not. That was the beautiful part about this ministry.
Advice i would offer anyone who is considering dcls
I would encourage anyone who is feeling called to apply to DCLS to take action and do it!! Whether you are local or not. Being called to such an intimate, bold, and hands-on program can feel overwhelming but the Lord will equip you with what you need for your journey.
Trust that the Lord will make a way. He is the God who provides! When I felt called to apply to DCLS, I was so fearful that I wouldn’t have enough money to pay off my first year. Turns out, the Lord provided the exact amount that I needed in order to pay off my tuition. Take a step of faith and see what the Lord will do, there’s nothing He can’t do.
Seek and ask the Lord for guidance with making the decision to sign up for DCLS! The Lord made it abundantly clear that I was called to come to the Dream Center two years ago. What a journey it has been.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to have spent two years here with other DCLS students, and staying connected to lifelong friends I have made at this beautiful place. This experience has been life changing, and I’m so thankful for the deep and refining work that the Lord has done in and through me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the DCLS staff who have cultivated an atmosphere where young leaders can further their giftings and talents for the kingdom. Thank you DCLS for the two most transformative years of my life. I will cherish this place and the people here for the rest of my life. If you are interested and considering, apply at dcls.dreamcenter.org today!