“Are you really going to call my dad????”

Feb 5, 2014

Casa Chirilagua ice skating field trip 2014

A call home can instantly strike terror into the heart of any kid. As Kids Club Director, I’ve seen once-defiant faces melt into horror. “Are you really going to call my dad????” They implore with pleading eyes. I always feel slightly mean as I dial, but as part of our mission, developing relationships with families to see the Chirilagua neighborhood transformed by Christ, I know that good communication helps our parents guide their kids to further growth.

Although I value parent partnership in helping to discipline students, I want to make sure parents hear praises of what their kids do well, too. We’ve worked on creating a supportive environment at Kids Club, but words of day-to-day goings-on rarely make it home. While kids receive praise at the Kids Club site, I resolved for 2014 that praises from kids club would extend to parents.

A week after this resolution, I witnessed the single-kindest act we’ve had at Kids Club this year.

One of our fifth-grade girls arrived at Kids Club nearly in tears. At school that day, a few of her classmates had put together two lists. One list held the names of the “cool” kids in fifth grade. Inevitably, the other list noted the “nerds.” She had not only seen her name on the “nerd,” list, but one of her supposed friends had helped land her there.

Word circulated around the fourth and fifth grade girls. They whispered in the hallways about the incident, said nasty things about the friend who had helped land our student on the “nerd” list. Still distraught, the fifth-grader stood sullenly in line for her second station when a fourth grade girl, Patricia, popped up at her side with a paper in hand.

“Here you go!” she said. “I made it for you because I saw how sad you were.”

Quickly, the fifth-grader looked at the paper and broke into a grin. “Thank you!” she squealed, “that’s so sweet.” As I walked up, the girls gave each other a warm hug and broke off to go to their separate stations. Before entering the room, I asked the fifth-grader to show me the paper she’d received.

Nerds are COOL !!!!!!!!! I LOVE nerds! It proclaimed in colorful bubble letters. A drawing of Patricia with the fifth grader having fun together sat under the words.

I felt my heart warm at this act of sheer, genuine kindness.

Later, I bounced up to Patricia’s dad. As I recounted the story, he beamed. “The other girl felt better after that?” He asked. I nodded with a smile.

He walked her home with his arm around her, still beaming. I’m thankful for these moments, which develop relationships with families to see the ways that the Chirilagua kids are already being transformed by Christ and showing His light.

– Elizabeth

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.