wishlist

  • Casa Volunteer Opportunities

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  • Wishlists for Kids Club and Mentoring

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  • Casa’s Amazon Smile

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  • Seeking 1-to-1 Mentors

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who we are

A few years ago, Restoration City Church (RCC) was exploring opportunities to encourage their congregation’s involvement in local service to the community. Not long after reaching out to Casa, they jumped in to building relationships and serving alongside the Casa Chirilagua family. In the past year RCC has sponsored a family dinner night, supported Casa financially, partnered in prayer, and provided volunteer support — including a stellar mentor who has practically become a member of her mentees family and a high school leader who captivates her students.

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We had a special visit this week from Alexandria’s mayor! Kids Club students did a fantastic job performing a traditional dance for her. Thank you to the parents who spent many hours preparing their performance! We’d also like to thank the former Kids Club student who volunteered at every practice teaching the younger students this dance.

 
Thank you Mayor Allison Silberberg for visiting us and speaking to our families on the importance of reading together! We truly appreciate your commitment to supporting Alexandria community organizations such as Casa Chirilagua.

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It was 5:30 PM on a Friday afternoon when the Kids Club kids boarded my bus after their field trip to the Natural History museum. Ms. Liz stepped aboard to pass out a snack to each of the students: one package of Nature Valley granola bars. As Liz walked away from our bus with the box of granola bars in hand, I felt a tinge of hunger in my stomach. Looking back at the students, I asked, “Who grabbed a snack for Ms. D? I feel hungry.” An awkward silence fell over the bus. Angelina, seated in the first row of the bus, glanced down at the two granola bars sitting in the wrapper she had just opened. She looked up at me. She looked down at the package again. With a smile on her face she said, “Here, Ms. D! This is for you!” as she extended her hand toward me with a granola bar in her palm.
 

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Thank you to each and every one of you who made the March 15th workshop a success. As a relational ministry, our people are the heart and soul of everything we do and the March 15th 8 Key Components of Christian Community Development Workshop was no exception.

 

If you attended the event, please click here to complete a short survey for us, providing feedback for the workshop. Your evaluations are important to us. Thank you for your time!

 

– Sarah

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Casa Chirilagua

I am happy to report on March 15th, Casa Chirilagua hosted the first ever bilingual 8 Key Components of CCD training and it was a huge success, thanks to the many volunteers and supporters who helped make it happen. Together, we hosted a wonderfully diverse gathering of neighbors, volunteers, and newcomers to the Casa family who were courageous to engage the language and cultural barriers in order to listen to each other and learn together about wholistic ministry which includes putting Christ’s love at the center, embracing the hard work of real reconciliation, making redistribution of skills and resources a priority, facilitating power transfers to empower the community and investing in the development of local leaders.

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Casa Chirilagua 5K

In time with my younger brother, I learned to hear “I love you” in getting pushed down during a game of ultimate Frisbee, spending time making dumb jokes and making fun of each other. At the end of the day, I always knew he was looking out for me, that he would seek me out. Growing up with a younger brother, I tended to think that I understood boys fairly well.

I was jolted out of this delusion in a meeting with Dawnielle.

“Look at who you just named,” she said.

I rattled the names off again.

“They’re all fourth and fifth grade boys.”

I blinked. Dawnielle had just pointed out a pattern in the kids with spotty Kids Club attendance that I had entirely missed.

“We need to figure out what about Kids Club isn’t working for those boys. I would suggest meeting with some of our male volunteers and asking them what it’s like to be a fourth and fifth grade boy.” (more…)

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Doing a little spring cleaning? Need to clear a few items out of the house?

Now is your chance to donate your gently used items for the upcoming Parent Committee Yard Sale!

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Casa Chirilagua 5K 2013

 

“Mi Casa es su Casa!” You’ve heard the phrase, you’ve seen the t-shirts, and you may even have one. What do we really mean when we say the phrase and wear the shirt? At Casa Chirilagua, we are one big family from kids to supporters, parents to partner churches, and from staff to volunteers. At the center of everything we do is a relational connectedness. These relationships are what hold us together and make our programs flourish. (more…)
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Every month we gather as a staff to select our Volunteer of the Month. With so many superstar volunteers it is always a tough choice, yet, each month one person or group stands out above the rest. This month we are pleased to announce Lisa Martinez is our March Volunteer of the Month!

Casa Chirilagua Teens Club learns yoga (more…)

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Casa Chirilagua 5K Fun Run 2013

One mantra we often utilize around the Casa office is, “It’s not efficient but it’s effective.” When we have an extremely high attendance rate at a parent meeting after many individual phone calls and house visits, we repeat to ourselves, “It’s not efficient but it’s effective.” Efficiency and effectiveness are always in tension in the midst of relationships. Whether we are sending a handwritten thank you note or taking time to truly show our thanks and appreciation in person, we struggle through the balance.

We’ve begun hosting coffee meetings (“cafecitos”) in the neighborhood, in efforts to share our story and gather information from Chirilagua families. This process is the first phase in the development of a comprehensive Strategic Direction plan. Throughout this first phase, we have been challenged by our mantra once again. (more…)

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Casa Chirilagua Kids Club volunteer Bob Wright

Within the Casa Chiri community, no one remembered him as “Bob Wright” he was simply “Grandpa Bob.”

“He was everyone’s Grandpa!” was a common expression I heard when asking the Casa Chirilagua community for thoughts and reflections on his life. (more…)

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Casa Chirilagua Community 2013


As we form Casa Chirilagua’s Strategic Direction Plan, our entire community is part of the process. 
We’ve begun telling our story in the neighborhood and everywhere we’re invited. Next, on March 15th, we’re training our community – neighbors, volunteers, supporters, church partners, board members, staff, and friends – on what we do and why we do it.

Join us for this dynamic and interactive, workshop facilitated by Dawnielle Miller and Pablo Otaola, both Christian Community Development Association trained workshop facilitators. At this bilingual workshop you’ll learn:
– The history of Casa Chirilagua
– The 8 Key Components of Christian Community Development
– How you can be involved in Casa Chirilagua’s future (more…)

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Casa Chirilagua Homework Lab at Kids Club

Calling all past, current, and future Kids Club Volunteers!

We have two upcoming Kids Club volunteer training sessions:
Jan. 17th 4-5:30pm; Jan. 28th 6:30-8:00pm.

Past volunteers who want to share their stories with new volunteers or get started volunteering again are encouraged to join. Current volunteers can use this session for tips on how to help our students succeed at Kids Club. New volunteers can learn everything they need to know to get started volunteering at Kids Club.

Please email Elizabeth Moraff, Kids Club Director (elizabeth@casachirilagua.org), to RSVP and get all the details.

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Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Dawnielle Miller

Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Dawnielle Miller

 

The holidays and the New Year for many of us serve as a time to reflect – assessing the previous year and looking forward to what the coming year might bring. This is usually accompanied by planning which comes in the form of budgeting, goal setting, creating new routines, making commitments, purchasing gym memberships, registering for classes, etc.

As much as we plan, at some point we must accept our humanity, recognizing there are limitations to our plans and as much as we try, we cannot control all things. (more…)

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It wouldn’t be the holiday season without our community gathering to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. And no Christmas Celebration is complete without a children’s pageant, photo booth and silly staff dance! Several people mentioned this was the best celebration yet. If you missed all the fun in December, don’t miss the photos and videos below and on Facebook.

 

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Casa Chirilagua 5K fun run

Ms. D with stellar Chirilagua runners at the November 5K Fun Run

“What do you wish for?” little Josefina asked as she looked at me.

“Was she talking to me?” I wondered.

“Ms. D! What do you wish for?!?”

I didn’t know how to respond. I asked,“Do you mean, what do I hope to have, like a birthday wish or a Christmas list?”

“No!” she adamantly responded and repeated her question word for word and with even more emphasis, “What do you WISH for?” (more…)

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Casa Chirilagua Christmas Celebration 2012

Casa Chirilagua Christmas Celebration 2012

Join us this Saturday, at 6:00pm at Grace Episcopal Church (3601 Russell Road, Alexandria) for our annual Christmas celebration. Each year at Christmastime we gather as a Casa family to celebrate the season and our community. Our students would love for you to see their Christmas program and join them and their families for a potluck dinner. You don’t want to miss the photo booth, kids crafts, raffle and more! Please bring a dish to share during the potluck dinner. (more…)

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How does a 4th grade student go from falling behind with schoolwork and exhibiting behavioral concerns to setting goals, receiving glowing reports from his teacher, and advancing two reading levels all in just one year? The answer: family.

At Casa Chirilagua, were family. When a member of our family needs additional support, everyone contributes. When Matteo first started attending Kids Club, he quickly tired of academic work; however, we noted his memorization capability was phenomenal. When we found out he was two years behind in reading, we knew he was capable of much more, so we lovingly gathered around him and his family and said, “You are amazing! You are smart! You can do this!” (more…)

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Dawnielle and the Casa family mine for jewels at Great Country Farms

Dawnielle and Kids Club students mine for jewels at Great Country Farms

As a child, Thanksgiving at Grandpa and Grandma’s house was a highlight of the year. All my aunts, uncles and cousins would gather under the same roof of my grandparents’ modest home. Though space was limited, the love and joy were abundant as we maneuvered through the tiny openings between the chairs and the wall to find our seat at the table in the crowded dining room. (more…)

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I am happy to report all Casa Chirilagua programs are back up and running for the year. Kids Club is off to a great start. Teens Club CORE started last Wednesday. Lego League had its first meeting on Saturday. Leaders In Training (LIT) are doing a wonderful job helping our students at Kids Club. All four student Bible Studies began this week. Mentors continue meeting with their students weekly and the parent committee elected its new board of officers!

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Casa News