A Walk for Connection

Sep 17, 2021

I remember a very special day when Matt, our Volunteer Coordinator and team-labeled in-house pastor, asked me to set an hour apart on a Wednesday morning to walk and talk throughout our neighborhood. No agenda, no angle. Just a single action item—make it a priority to connect. The conversation entailed our roles at Casa, the neighborhood, and our personal lives. The culture of Casa Chirilagua is set on a simple yet effective principle: we all desire connection at our core. Within our staff, we have open space to build connection—which then makes building relationships with families seamless.   

By its definition, connection is the result of two parts merging. I’ve found this can be beautifully daunting in relationships when building connection. Beautiful in that the end goal is connection. Daunting in that it takes a great deal of vulnerability to create connection, and what ignites it all is being courageous enough.   

I took a mental note of this concept after my conversation with Matt. It was a reminder that we all are invited to continually prioritize building healthy relationships rooted in safe vulnerability. I left encouraged knowing the culture of how we walk alongside our neighbors in Chirilagua is an expression of how we engage as staff behind closed doors. That although connection is our word of the month, it is an action we see day-to-day.  

As programming kicked off in our community center and 10 matches were added to the Mentoring Program, the expression of this connection has been constantly evident. I have come to know that I am grateful for our Casa  Chirilagua staff, volunteers who want build relationships with families, and the community of neighbors that model this connection.   

Jose Martinez – Mentoring Program Director

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.