Our Cities

Fall in love with our cities!

“Missions is all about falling in love with God and the city where God places you.”
– Shawn Casselberry, Executive Director


Click here to check out our 2017-2018 teams! 


Chicago“I love Chicago for a lot of reasons. Chicago has had a big effect on my life and so have the people I’ve met since moving here in 2009 to do Mission Year. I love the neighborhood cultures, food, and history of activism. To me, despite its politics and weather, Chicago is a really hearty city that always draws me in.” – Ashleigh Hill

“Chicago neighborhoods have so much personality and culture. In one moment, you can be swaying to the song of a street performer at a train station. In another, you’re tapping to the rhythm of a bucket drummer. In another, you are overtaken by the aroma of Garrett’s popcorn or Chinese food (the authentic kind) or fried plantains. And the list goes on! You can walk through certain neighborhoods and momentarily forget that you’re in Chicago. But if you’ve been here long enough— you’ll smile and say to yourself, ‘Ah, this is Chicago.’ No matter how long you’ve lived in the city, there’s always something new to explore. It never gets old. Chicago has a lot of pride for its city. Sometimes it comes in the form of a few million people showing up for a Stanley Cup parade. Sometimes it comes in the form of ordinary people advocating for the well-being of others. Chicago has a high volume of organizations working to provide resources and opportunities for its residents. There is a lot of incredible and creative work happening here… a lot of folks who care deeply about the common good.” – Ruth Nakai

City Description:
Chicago is a beautiful, historic American city. Known as “the city that works,” Chicago has a world-class transit system, breathtaking skyline, picturesque parks and museums, competitive sports teams, and rich cultural diversity. Yet, Chicago is also known for political corruption, failing schools, high unemployment, violence, and the notorious distinction of being the most racially segregated city in the country.

Our Neighborhoods:
Mission Year is currently working in the East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, and La Villita (Little Village) communities on the West Side.

Areas of Focus:
Homelessness, education, youth mentoring, public health, sex trafficking, immigrant services, legal aid, community development, and public policy. We partner with churches, faith-based ministries, and community organizations who are involved in holistic community development.

Opportunities in Chicago:

  • Mission Year One (year long program)
  • Mission Year Spring Break and summer Justice Trips (week long)
  • Alumni Leader Program (second-year leadership program for alumni)

Chicago National Office Staff:

Jonathan Brooks – Chicago City Director

Jen Casselberry – Director of Operations

Shawn Casselberry – Executive Director

Ashleigh Hill – Development Coordinator

Ra Mendoza – National Program Director

Ruth Nakai – Assistant to Shawn Casselberry

Ciera Smith – Recruiter


Houston“It’s hard for me to narrow down all of the reasons why I love Houston, because it’s a passion that snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking and yet has really been transformative. We were recently named as the most diverse city in the country, and I encounter that in so many different spectrums here: our thriving street art scene, our urban green spaces, our proximity to both the border and the port which translates into our economic growth and the way we welcome folks from all over the world, our food — I mean, where else can you find killer Tex Mex and delicious Vietnamese cuisine at the same food truck? — I could go on and on. I’m proud to share life with individuals and families in a neighborhood that encourages, celebrates and promotes a rich cultural heritage, I love that I am likely to hear conversations in at least 5 different languages every time I’m downtown, and I am grateful to participate in a vibrant faith community across the city that is committed to loving our neighbors across racial, cultural, socioeconomic and orientation divides. Of course, being able to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt in February is pretty hard to beat as well…” – Kate Pollard

“Art is such a moving and living part of Houston! I fell in love with Houston’s beautiful murals and the way that art is constantly engaging all of Houston’s communities. There is something for everyone, whether it is art therapy for the homeless, or one of our Mission Year neighborhoods designing a mural!” – Bella Fout

City Description:
Houston is a beautiful multi-cultural city. Houston is home to amazing food, culture, and arts. Houston (also referred to as H-town) is the largest city in the southern United States with a population of 2.16 million.

Our Neighborhoods:
Mission Year is currently working in the Third Ward neighborhood in Houston.

Areas of Focus:
Homelessness, housing, education, youth mentoring, arts, immigrant services, food justice, and community development. We partner with a variety of ministries and organizations that are transforming their communities through outreach and art.

Opportunities in Houston:

  • Mission Year One (year long)
  • Mission Year Arts Teams (year long)
  • Mission Year Married (year long for married couples)
  • Alumni Leader Program (second year leadership program for alumni)

Houston Staff:

Rozella Haydée White – Houston City Director


Philadelphia“Yo, Philly is legit! Living here has helped me become more honest with myself and inspired me to find the beauty in the tension. Philly is tension – from the vibrancy and truth of its murals to neighborhoods labeled “badlands,” from rows of crowded row homes to blocks coming alive with open fire hydrants and grills in the summertime, from failing public schools due to a lack of funding to the ever growing number of folks investing time and creativity in the city’s youth. Philly is ‘both and.’ It is a city that speaks to me of God’s provision and movement. It is a city that surprises me, inspires me, and has let me call it home.” – Ra Mendoza

“I love the ways that I get to experience the fullness of life as I navigate my way around this city. In just a matter of blocks you can run across women, men, children, babies, the elderly, racial and ethnic diversity, food, relationships, music, work, play, tears, laughter and so much more. It reminds you that life is not static, it’s always moving and there’s always the next step, the next moment, the next experience. There are so many people living in so many beautiful ways together. This doesn’t always mean harmoniously, but it does mean that there’s the possibility of that. I love that Philadelphia is industrial, that it’s full of history, and also full of people willing to rewrite history. I love soft pretzels and cheese steaks, Boathouse Row, and the Wissahickon River. I love my neighbors and my neighborhood, and the rhythms of life and celebration we have together.” – Caz Tod-Pearson

City Description:
Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. Philly is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and home to many national historic sites related to the founding of America. Philly is bursting with life and boasts over 3,000 beautiful murals.

Our Neighborhoods:
We are currently working on the North side, West side, and Southwest side of Philly.

Areas of Focus:
Education, youth mentoring, homelessness, community development, healthcare, immigrant services and public policy. We partner with churches, local activists, and faith leaders who are working for personal transformation and systemic change.

Opportunities in Philly:

  • Mission Year One (year long)
  • Mission Year Two (second year program)
  • Alumni Leader Program (second year leadership program for alumni)
  • Mission Year Spring Break and summer Justice Trips (week long)
  • Urban Solitude Retreat (weekend)

Philadelphia Staff:

Luke Hillier – Philly City Director // Admissions Coordinator


Application Deadline