5 Talents: Vienna Presbyterian Youth Give and Serve

May 17, 2011

Through the 5 Talents Project, a part of their confirmation class, the youth at Vienna Presbyterian used their talents, experiences and obedient hearts to raise money specifically for the kids and families that Casa Chirilauga serves. Altogether, the 9th graders in the confirmation class raised $2,941, all of which is helping Kids Club kids  go to Passport Camp (a Christian camp focused on missions) this summer. We are amazed and inspired to see God’s movements in the lives and hearts of these teens! Thank you to Vienna Pres youth!

Lexi Graham and Maddie Osborn tell us about their 5 Talents Project experiences:

Lexi Graham

1. Why did you participate in the 5 Talents Project?

The 5 Talents project was introduced to me as an opportunity to raise money through my Confirmation class. Dawnielle’s speech about Casa Chirilagua really touched my heart and interested me in the mission. Currently, I am a 9th grader at Madison High School and taking Spanish 2 as one of my electives. I love the language and have visited poverty-stricken places within Spanish-speaking countries. Therefore, I recognize the need for money to help teens and children in the specific Latino neighborhood. With that said, I began raising money. First, I looked at a few of the talents that God has given me. I have been blessed with some talents including cooking, working with kids, and playing soccer. Next, I decided to tackle a few different projects to incorporate several of my talents.

2. How did you raise money? Why did you choose those particular ways?

Over Winter Break, I led a holiday sugar cookie baking party for young kids in my neighborhood. Prior to the event I made lots of cookie dough, so when the kids arrived we could begin decorating. Each child (there were 9 of them), got their own dough, and a variety of cookie cutters to choose from. Also, they decorated their cookies with sprinkles and we baked them in the oven. While they were baking, we played games and sang Christmas carols. Finally, each kid left with a dozen cookies to take home and share with their families.

My next event was hosting a tiramisu cooking class. With seven of my friends, we tackled the task of each making a tiramisu. I taught them the specific techniques involved and the fun in making a dessert to share with others. The girls learned how to separate eggs, fold in ingredients, and whip egg whites & heavy cream. Overall, I thought the event was very successful. We had a blast and made delicious tiramisus as well!

Lastly, I helped a young girl in my neighborhood improve her soccer skills. We worked together for one hour each weekend practicing some essential soccer skills. They included passing, shooting, trapping, heading, and many more. She has gotten so much better already, and I hope her love for soccer will continue to grow as her skills get even better too.  After completing all of these projects, I raised nearly $200.

3. What did God teach you through this? Do you think people who participated in your project learned more about God too? If yes, what did they learn or how did they grow?

Through this process, I realized all of the gifts I have been given by God. I am so lucky to have had experience with activities like babysitting, playing soccer, and cooking in order to learn that God has blessed me with so much. I learned that He knows and loves me more than anything, and that I can glorify Him through my kindness and service to others. In addition, I came to realize that the talents that God has given me can be used as God’s hands and feet to help His people around the world.


4. Did this experience give you any ideas on what you could do next or in the future to serve God?

In the future I want to serve God through mission projects dealing with kids and the community. I would love to help teach kids and adults the cooking skills I have learned and the soccer ones as well. This summer I will be attending a mission project in Eastern Shore, VA where we will be helping youth programs and repairing houses within the community. I am so excited and look forward to more mission projects in the future! Also, I would love to come to Casa Chirilagua to help teens and kids in the Latino community. Someday, I hope to find a profession where I can express my talents God has given me and serve His people worldwide.


Maddie Osborn

1. Why did you participate in the 5 Talents Project?

At first I planned to participate in the 5 Talents Project just because our youth really encouraged all of the members in the confirmation class to, but after Dawnielle came and spoke at one of our classes, her stories of helping the community and what her hopes were for it really inspired me to really work hard on my project and do my part to help Casa Chirilagua out.

2. How did you raise money? Why did you choose those particular ways?

I raised money by hosting, organizing, and performing at a Coffeehouse at Caffe Amouri in Vienna. We took “free will” donations and 10% of the money that was spent on the food bought that night went to the cause. I chose to raise money this way because I wanted to do something I knew would get a lot of attention, I had many friends who would want to perform, and I simply love working with other artists and bringing to the community displays of our local talent.

3. What did God teach you through this? Do you think people who participated in your project learned more about God too? If yes, what did they learn or how did they grow?

God taught me a lot about my strengths through this project. I’ve always loved to perform, but being a leader is something I’ve never really embraced especially as a Freshman. So when I was suddenly telling Seniors at my school where to stand, what time to show up, and encouraging them when they got nervous, I was surprised that having authority and being assertive isn’t quite as scary as I thought it would be. I learned that a group of passionate and talented kids can have a much bigger impact on adults than they think and that it doesn’t take much more than a “please” and “thank you” to make someone give you respect and listen. I think what I’m getting at is, I worked with a lot of people through this project and despite my doubts that people would work with me, they did if I looked them in the eye and told them that there are kids in our area that need support and I wanted to help them out. I think God taught the people involved in my project a few lessons, but I wouldn’t say they learned about God. They all knew I was driven to do this by my faith, but I think the students performing and coming to see the “show” were moved by the amount of adults that showed up and supported us. Being a teen can be hard, and it only gets harder when you begin to feel a loss of respect from adults. When parents saw us working together, doing something that was completely run by students it, inspired them. People came and said that they hoped I would continue to hold fundraisers like this, because it gave a sense of community in a large town and shared the talents of local kids. So not only did it teach kids that they could gain respect from adults, it also taught the adults that kids can be trusted to do things on their own. Eventually I think people could see that though kids tend to be head-strong and impulsive, we can be trusted with our faith and our relationship with God. We don’t always need to be told exactly how to do the right thing.


4. Did this experience give you any ideas on what you could do next or in the future to serve God?

I raised $284 and some amount of change that I can’t remember off the top of my head. This project gave me a lot of ideas for the future. I plan to continue to organize coffeehouses as fundraisers for different causes.

5. Anything else you’d like to say?

Something that’s important is that I didn’t work on this project alone. I worked with another student in my confirmation class, but it was more than just him. Working with all of the students that performed at the Coffeehouse showed me that it’s important to not always think you have to do things on your own. People will be there to support you, and if not them ,God is always there. It’s okay to lean on someone when you get down or ask for help occasionally. Being unsure isn’t the same as being weak.

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Our relational network of volunteers and donors reflects a diverse group of individuals from all over the Washington, D.C. metro area. As a non-profit, we rely on the community for assisting program directors on-site, being mentors, supplying the needs of our food pantry, and everything in between. Each member of our Casa community holds a unique gift, whether time, talent or treasure.