A Culturally Aware 4th Grader, Ready for College

Feb 1, 2011

We were driving along in my car headed to another event.   There was a pause in the conversation and I knew 4th grade Isabela was thinking about something.   Suddenly, out of no where, she chimed in, “Ms. D, how long does it take to get to Taylor?”  (Taylor is the Christian university that I attended.)  I responded, “About 10-12 hours in a car.”  She quipped, “Man, it will be really hard for my mom to come visit me.”  I commented, “Why? Do you want to go to Taylor?”  She replied, “Yeah, I have been thinking about it.  Is there another Taylor?  One that is closer?”  I replied, “Nope, there is only one Taylor but there are colleges similar to it that are closer.”  .

When we arrived at our destination, a local church, there was a photo on the wall of my roommate from Taylor because she had participated in a fellowship program there.   I showed it to Isabela.   She was processing something again.  She looked up and commented, “Ms. D, do only white people go to Taylor.”  I threw my head back and laughed.  I responded, “Unfortunately, it’s mostly white people now.   However, do you know what that means for a young Latina like yourself?”   “What?” she responded.   I smiled, “Lots of scholarship money to increase diversity.”

Here was this little girl who I’ve been telling since 1st grade that she was going to college one of these days.  Over the past 3 years we have progressed from absolutely not wanting to go to college, to only a college close by, to only a fashion design school and now we are getting ready to travel across the country for a good education.   My heart soared, hearing her little 4th grade mind processing an educational future, at my alma mater none the less.

We are a community of people “learning together to love our neighbors as ourselves” in a Latino neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia.

As a faith-based Christian non-profit with a small staff and over 100 volunteers, we serve alongside more than 100 families and their children (1st-12th grades) each week through our community programs.

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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.