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