Stories

Summer Highlights

Our community center has been busy with students of all ages from morning until night this summer. Here are reports from each of the classes. Also be sure to follow the photos on our Facebook page!

 

Summer Kids Club

Our elementary school friends have been working hard this summer! As they reviewed fractions, practiced math facts, and went over place value and rounding – volunteers and staff worked hard to set students up for success in the coming school year. Math and reading can be subject areas that are the most frustrating for our kids. However, thanks to your one on one support 76% of students feel more confident to learn math while 83% of students feel more confident around reading in the upcoming school year. Thank you to all volunteers who came out to support our children in Summer Club!

 

Teens Casa Club

As Ana* sat at teens’ Casa Club Camp she weaved yarn in and out of a cross-shaped design which she had created. I asked her, “What have you appreciated about Casa Club this past year?” She thought for a while and then she answered, “I got the help I needed and I met new people.” I followed up asking what kind of help she had received, expecting it to be around her school work. She replied, “Well, they helped me learn how to talk to people. Talking to new people is hard for me, and I don’t always control my emotions well. But they helped me process my emotions, and they were patient and kind with me. Now I feel like talking to new people isn’t so hard anymore.

 

It’s been encouraging to see volunteers at Casa Club building a community where students feel safe to learn how to express themselves. Across all of our programs, volunteers build deeper relationships, instilling confidence and nurturing stronger communities. Thank you to each of you for everything you’ve done to build a flourishing community in Chirilagua.

 

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Family Strengthening Classes

In August of 2017 leaders from the Chirilagua community met to plan the strategic direction of Casa Chirilagua for the next three years. One goal that emerged from that process was the desire to strengthen families in our community. As Mario remarked, “Sometimes our families aren’t strong, then the community is not strong. We want to have unity within our families.”

 

With this as one of five new directional focuses of the organization, Casa began seeking opportunities to strengthen families in our community. When we met Pastor Arispe through a friend of Casa, we were elated by the passion and experience he brought to the table. Equipped with an extensive training and education in psychology and pastoral counseling, his professional and life experience (including being a native Spanish speaker) was just what our community was requesting. However it was his passion to, “See families restored and to better equip the next generation,” and his warm, pastoral and fatherly nature made him a great fit for our Casa families.

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Building Relationships Through Fun

It was a humid day. The sun was in the sky shining its powerful heat upon the blacktop behind Casa Chirilagua. Kids Club had one solution: water fight! First students split into 4 teams with their leaders standing right in the middle. Yes, they were surrounded by Kids Club students armed with water balloons and buckets of water. After a moment of silence and giggling, we shouted, “Get ready…set….GO!!” What came next was one. Epic. Waterfight.

 

During the school year, our Kids Club team plans lessons, manages behaviors, organizes, coordinates and does everything they can do to create the best program possible for our students. At the end of this long year, there is something so simple and freeing about being able to run around and throw water balloons at one another. We all enjoy splashing, spraying and laughing until our stomachs hurt.

 

At the end of the day Casa is always about relationships. Usually they’re built as a leader helps a student through a tough book, coaches another through a hard situation with a friend or connects with their family during a family dinner night. But today, relationships were built as we battled our friends with over 450 water balloons! And what better way to celebrate a year with friends then a water balloon fight?!

 

Click here to check out more photos of our final day of Kids Club!

 

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Kids Club’s Got Talent

“Mom! Dad! Come see what I made!” Our Kids Club friends were all smiles during their recent Talent Show and Art Expo. This year, their talent show was a culmination of all the works of art they had created throughout the year. Our community center’s classrooms were turned into a lively art gallery displaying each student’s writing work, sculptures and paintings. As parents and mentors filtered in to watch the performances and presentations, kids excitedly grabbed their hands to take them through the art gallery before the show began.

 

One mother commented, “This was our first year in Kids Club and we are so grateful. It has been so good for my daughter’s socialization. She loves the program and has made new friends. She likes the art activities and is excited to show her work to me. Kids Club has also helped me build friendships in the community. Life used to simply be work, home and church but now I see people who I know in the neighborhood and feel like I am part of a community.”

 

Students who were once  shy and quiet now proudly showed off their paintings then spoke confidently into the microphone as they read their writing projects in front of everyone. Leading up to the dance show some were nervous about remembering their dance moves – but in the end they stole the show! After the writing workshop students participated in a survey about their experiences. Many responses reflected a high level of growth in their confidence to present in front of others and it was very evident at this event.  Thanks to the efforts of their writing instructors, art teachers and Kids Club leaders this year’s talent show was a huge success!

 

We live streamed the dance performances and writing workshop presentations, so if you missed out and want to check out some of the performances click here to watch the recording!

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