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

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes. During a recent visit to Illinois, I was overwhelmed by the over abundance of my parents’ Midwestern August garden. At any given time, the eight tomato plants were heavy with over a hundred healthy bright red, juicy tomatoes. I would walk out to the garden to pick a tomato or two for our evening meal and I couldn’t stop picking. My mom would ask, “What took so long?” and I would respond sheepishly with a smile on my face as I revealed the 20 tomatoes in my bucket yet I was still thinking about the other ripe tomatoes hanging on the vine waiting to be harvested. Friends and neighbors would regularly stop by, pop their head in the house and say, “Hey Gary and Brenda, I came by to pick some tomatoes!” My parents would happily oblige and found great joy in sharing the harvest.

The process began about three months prior. I remember it well from my childhood. The soil was prepared, the starter plants were carefully and strategically planted, and cage supports were put in place. With the right amount of sunlight, a bit of weeding, a sufficient amount of water, and a bit of daily maintenance and care, the plants pretty much do what they are created to do, they grow.

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PAT

The Kids Club volunteers who attended Kids Club volunteer training this past Monday met Pat. Pat looks pretty plain, but he has a special power – he can transport people to a different world. After about thirty minutes of making the volunteers listen to only the sound of my voice, I introduce them to Pat.

“This is Pat,” I say. “Pat’s in fifth grade, and he can’t read.” Then I turn to face them, dry-erase marker poised in hand. “Why can’t Pat read?”

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group

What happens when you take a group of white kids from small-town Illinois and mix them up with a group of first generation Central American immigrant urban kids from the DC Metro area (Chirilagua)? Quite honestly, we didn’t know the answer to this question but with much prayer and planning we were willing to take the risk and find out. (more…)

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intern1a

Cristóbal, a rising sixth grader, asked this question of one of our summer interns after reading and acting out the story of Jack and the Beanstalk during their tutoring session. Ironically, he had asked the very question that our interns had come to explore.

For the past four years, Casa Chirilagua has accepted college interns for the summer from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, an on-campus ministry that seeks to disciple students in the midst of their college years. The summer internship program goes by the name Bridge DC, but it mostly looks like this: college kids meandering around the neighborhood looking lost for two weeks, followed by two weeks of the same college kids meandering around the neighborhood getting swarmed by kids who have grown to love them. (more…)

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