Be a Mentor!

Aug 12, 2012

From Learning ABC’s…

by Stacia Glass

Meeting Penelope has been a life changing experience!  I began working with Penelope in February 2011 and it started out as mainly teaching her the English language.  We’d read stories and spend minutes on a page even if it only had a sentence on it because I would ask her to name each item shown on a page, the colors, count how many objects were in a picture, etc. Penelope caught on very quickly and her open, eager to learn attitude, made it easy to talk with her and allow our relationship to grow. It didn’t take long for me to find myself really looking forward to Tuesday evenings as the highlight of my week. I also began to see things and wish I could share them with Penelope — anything from seeing an animal to shopping at Target made me think of her smiling face!  I remember the first activity we did together outside of tutoring was visiting a petting zoo, which was perfect because her favorite book to read with me was about a zoo and the animals there.  From that time together, I really learned a lot about her life back in Hondorus and I had something more to talk about with her parents as well, which helped me form a bond with them too.

Since the petting zoo afternoon,Penelope and I have done many things together like lunch outings, movies, swimming, and just playing with my cat (she is quite the animal lover!!).  Also, I’ve read stories she has written about her parents, met and visited with her grandmother, and her dad even asked me if I would ever be interested in traveling to Hondorus some day when they visit!

There’s a line in the movie “Blind Side” where the adopted mother’s (Sandra Bullock) friends make a comment about what a great thing she is doing for this boy and how she is changing his life and she responds with, “No, he’s changing mine.”

Because of Penelope, I can completely relate to that feeling and know exactly what she means — what a blessing this experience continues to be for me!


…To Walking Across the Stage

by Daniel’s mentor

Daniel’s recent graduation from T.C Williams High School reminded me that God is still hard at work restoring his bride (the church) to himself. The Holy Spirit used Dawnielle to introduce me to Daniel in December 2009, allowing me to nudge him when things got tough at school and giving me the chance to be in the auditorium for his graduation ceremony to see all his hard work come to completion. Daniel has shown me and others that he is intelligent, courageous, creative and kind. These are qualities that he may not have known he possessed  when he left El Salvador, but I believe he is now confident in these strengths and knows he is also worthy of friends and family who care about him (and they do care very much). I am anxious to see what his next adventure is and want to be there for him if I can. Casa Chirilagua is an organization that my wife and I fully support because we see the fruit that it produces in Daniel and others in our neighborhood. If you currently support what Casa Chirilagua does, thank you. If you are on the fence about being a mentor, please take the step forward and commit to something that will make a positive change in a young person’s life as well as your own.


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.