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

Dear Casa Chirilagua Family,

 

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

 

I and the other co-founders of Casa Chirilagua read this passage over and over from our apartment in Chirilagua in 2007. Then we watched God do much more than we could have ever imagined…

 

Since then, we’ve witnessed the building of new relationships, the development of new programs, the establishment of partnerships and the opening of a community center in the heart of the Chirilagua neighborhood. Thanks to your help, Casa is a thriving and fully sustainable non profit organization.

 

From Casa’s inception, one of our long-term goals was to build something that would last, to not only function without its founders but flourish beyond their departure. We believe we have arrived at the completion of this goal. As such, through much prayer and reflection, I have discerned it is my time to pass the baton to the next executive director of Casa Chirilagua and will be stepping down from my position on June 28.

 

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We laughed, we played, we ate, we sang, we prayed, and each of us grew deeper in our faith. The weekend began with the group arriving to the peaceful retreat at Pine Creek in Gore, VA. We took in the natural surroundings with the Appalachian mountains peeking at us along the horizon. What a blessing for our group of nearly a dozen teenage girls and their leaders to experience!

 

The agenda for the weekend consisted of prayer, two lessons, an inflatable obstacle course and reflection stations designed to encourage the students and make them feel loved. We had a lot of time for fun but the reflection stations were by far the most popular event of the trip.

 

“The retreat was so much fun! I wish we had stayed longer! I loved that I was able to see so many stars at night. I liked doing the stations. It was so peaceful,” remarked Hazel.

 

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Then sign-up today! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your volunteer interests below. Descriptions of the volunteer Program Area Interests are on our volunteer page.

 

Opportunities may or may not be currently available for each of the programs listed; after you submit the form we will be sure to follow up with you and let you know when there will be openings!

 

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THANK YOU for joining us in our efforts to learn together to love our neighbors as ourselves. Because of your generosity we can continue our mission to transform the Chirilagua neighborhood through the power of relationships.

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On Marcela’s* first day of the Summer Middle School program, things were not easy. Her leader Edgar remarks how she went home and, “Told her mom I was pushing her to the limit. But she actually liked it, her mom told me, ‘He makes me do things that I never thought I could do. And I want to go back because he believes in what I can do.’” Edgar adds, “I still to this day continue seeing that girl and telling her ‘you can do it…always believe you can. You cannot surrender. You cannot quit. Because I’m not going to allow you to do that.’”

 

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In front of her peers and community, Anna’s* mother and father begin their address to her, “Dear Anna—,” immediately they pause to collect themselves, their eyes welling up with tears. “We want to congratulate you on your first achievement in school. Your education is the best gift that we as parents can give you. We want you to keep on being a hardworking student, responsible, obedient, and respectful. We want you to fly high…because you have the opportunity and support from us. Our greatest pride is seeing you get an education. We love you.”

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Volunteer opportunities in our summer programs are now FULL. Please visit our Wish List page to see other current & future opportunities to get involved.

 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us!
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“Casa is a big believer in meeting the needs of the whole person, whether that is spiritual, physical and emotional…Seeing entire families transformed was incredibly inspiring.”

 
Meet the Latino Urban Ministry That is Transforming Lives

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Years ago, you dreamed with us as we created a five-year vision. Your time, talents, resources and prayers have made these dreams a reality. Local leaders were raised from the community, a diverse Board of Directors took leadership, teams of committed volunteers sprang into action, and now — as we write this — we are preparing to move into our new “house”: a multi-use community center in the heart of Chirilagua.

 

Thank you for your partnership. Thank you for your generous support, your time, your friendship and your prayers. You have been, and continue to be a blessing to the community. You have affected so many lives in Chirilagua, and we are so grateful for you!

 

Dream with us about a future where this community center becomes a warm home to our neighbors. Imagine with us the beautiful memories waiting to be created: Kids Club celebrations, Bible study gatherings, mentoring moments, and family dinners. Envision with us, a future home with English language, financial literacy and other classes for adults, as well as a safe and loving place for children during summers and after school.

 

Thank you for dreaming, imagining, and envisioning alongside us. You’ve helped make these past dreams a reality. Together, we can make this new house a home.

 

Will you consider including Casa in your 2016 year end giving?

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Saturday’s annual Casa Chirilagua 5K was a great time for all! Many different church and family groups from the area came together to run in the wonderful fall weather. We are truly thankful to everyone that made this race possible, that includes the volunteers, runners and churches; including Christ the King Anglican Church who organizes the race. We are excited to continue running toward victory together!

 

See more photos of the race here

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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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We are impressed daily with how our students exhibit the qualities outlined in the new Kids Club Honor Code. One day, Roberto* slowly approached a staff member to say, “Miss Maralee, I think I owe you an apology for being disrespectful to you the other day.”  We are so proud of our students as they increase in self-awareness and develop the courage to make amends.

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Are you doing some spring cleaning? Consider giving items to the Casa Chirilagua Parent-Sponsored Spring Yard Sale!

This year our Kids Club parents are raising money to pay for their annual family day at the beach.

You can help by dropping off your items on any of these Saturdays:

April 30, May 7, May 14

10:00am – 1:00pm

626 Notabene Drive, Alexandria, VA 22305

We hope to see you at the yard sale on:

May 21

7:00am – 12:30pm

3637 Russell Rd, Alexandria, VA 22305

*Photo courtesy of Bittersweet / John Jacks

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We took a moment to talk to Walter Urbina and Ruth Marin, both in the 2nd year of Casa’s Local Leaders Program, asking:

 

How is your life different because of Local Leaders program?
When Ruth and Walter joined the Casa Chirilagua Local Leaders program in 2014, little did they know the impact the program would have in their lives, and the impact their lives would have in the community.  Reflecting on their experience – working at Casa Chirilagua’s Kids Club, time with their mentors, and leadership development with the staff – the two shared insights about what it feels like to be motivated to grow individually, and as part of a team.

A Steady Guide

 

Walter noted that his mentor gives him guidance: “My mentor helps me make sense of ideas and put them together in a way that leads to action. This challenges me and pushes me to be better.” Ruth nodded in agreement, noting how Walter takes initiative in Kids Club to lead and execute a plan for activities. “I see how he has grown too. We all have,” she says. “I have learned more about myself, to approach situations in different ways, to respond to conflict in positive ways that lead to healthy resolution instead of pain,” she continues. Ruth speaks with quiet confidence about the changes and growth inside of her, and how her mentor, and the program, have helped her to “slow myself down, to be present.”
Kids Club Afternoons
As part of the Local Leaders Program, Walter and Ruth work at Kids Club each afternoon. They share about role modeling to younger kids at Kids Club, helping them to behave in more positive ways. Walter reflects thoughtfully on how serving with the Kids Club Director provides a safe space where “we are all on the same level, like a team of leaders.”
Personal Reflection
As the two continue to share about their experience, they light up when talking about the Casa staff retreat and monthly Local Leader brunch, where they have been able to share on a deeper level that has shaped their identity.  “I am learning who I am,” Walter says. Ruth agrees. “Looking back, I feel more comfortable and confident within myself and as a role model to the younger kids. This has helped me in my decision to work in the education system one day.”
It’s clear that Walter and Ruth have garnered more than work experience through the Local Leader Program.  They have deepened their sense of identity, their goals and dreams, and their ability to approach life’s challenges and joys with maturity and grace.
Local Leaders Ruth Marin and Walter Urbina contributed to this story.
The Local Leaders program recruits college-age young adults from the Chirilagua community and provides them with part-time employment with the organization, a vocational mentor, personal and professional development classes, and incentives for continuing education.  Learn More.
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Bittersweet Monthly, published by Bittersweet Creative Group, is an artistic, documentary-style digital magazine. Each month, they share the story of one inspiring organization — an organization working to address one of the many critical issues facing our world, and bring a message of hope using a combination of film, photography, graphic design and writing to share the story of good work being done to help those in need. Please visit this site by clicking here. It is an honor and a privilege for Casa Chirilagua to be featured by such a professional digital web magazine!

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As a part of Casa Chirilagua’s Strategic Direction, the entire Casa family-our staff, our programs, the Parent’s Committee, our volunteers, our board and our extended family – is focusing on one verse per month for the next 5 months from Ephesians 4. As a community, we are meditating on what Scripture says about living together in unity and allowing the Spirit to work in each of our hearts.

 

We invite the whole Casa family to join us as we learn to build one another up with our words.

 

Casa is making available a PDF of the monthly verse in both English  and  Espanol. We invite you to print it and post at your church as a reminder to engage with the scripture and pray for its fruition in each of our lives.
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As a part of Casa Chirilagua’s Strategic Direction, the entire Casa family-our staff, our programs, the Parent’s Committee, our volunteers, our board and our extended family – is focusing on one verse per month for the next 5 months from Ephesians 4. As a community, we are meditating on what Scripture says about living together in unity and allowing the Spirit to work in each of our hearts.

 

We invite the whole Casa family to join us as we learn to build lay aside faleshood and speak truth to one another as members of one Body.

 

Casa is making available a PDF of the monthly verse in both English and  Espanol. We invite you to print it and post at your church as a reminder to engage with the scripture and pray for its fruition in each of our lives.
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We are so grateful and appreciative of the Casa family’s generous and faithful end-of-year investments into the Chirilagua community, enabling us to exceed our goal of turning a $50,000 matching grant into $130,667-an increase of over 30%! This puts Casa in a strong financial position to start out 2015, ready to hit the ground running. The Casa family has been incredibly generous and we are extremely grateful to God and to you for being a part of this family and choosing to invest in our community!

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Every time I read the monthly reports from our mentors I’m amazed at the many ways God works through our mentor-mentee relationships. Just this past month I read how one mentor is teaching her mentee Korean, another mentor has helped her mentee conquer her fear of dogs, and one of our middle school mentees even made the baseball team despite having no prior experience- all with the help of his very dedicated mentoring couple.  As the Christmas season approaches and we all turn our thoughts towards gift-giving, I realize that being a mentor  is a gift to a child that truly makes a life-long impact. Our mentors invest a portion of their time each week to their mentees, and are rewarded with the opportunity to see two lives transformed by one relationship. So many of our mentors have shared with me both the joy of seeing their mentee learn and grow, and the personal fulfillment they experience being a mentor. This Christmas,

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Our restored systems programming encourages standards of justice and living through Christian Community Development classes, quarterly prayer meetings and a community resource committee.

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Casa News