Dreams Rooted in Community

Jun 21, 2017

Being firmly rooted in the community: this is one of Casa Chirilagua’s core values. Our community’s voice plays a vital role in forming our goals and strategies for achievement. Every three years we gather together in community to dream, discuss and plan alongside our neighbors. This year was no different, as parents and teens came together with our staff and a few board members for Casa’s strategic planning meeting.


Despite a day that was already full of activities, Chirilagua community members began steadily arriving to our community center. By the time the meeting began tables were full of both parents and youth ready to talk with us about Chirilagua. Our dialogue was fruitful as both parents and youth shared what their dreams were: dreams for strengthened families, a strong community, higher education, spiritual health and healthy lifestyles. As a group we openly discussed these dreams and the challenges which we must overcome to achieve them.


After asking a local teen, “How would you like your mom to support you better while you’re in High School?” she responded immediately, “I want my mom to know what I’m doing, to know what I’m studying. I want her to ‘get it.’”


With openness comes vulnerability and it was refreshing to see the community discuss both the good and the bad. Two of Casa’s board members, Fernanda and Sergio, did a great job of facilitating conversations through some disagreements. Casa staff member Maralee encouraged parents, “It’s okay for us to disagree. Let’s get to the root of some of the obstacles.” Parents continued until everyone agreed that both opposing perspectives were right. Both were noted.


When parents were asked, “Why are we here?”, their responses were telling:

“Para mejorar nuestra comunidad.” Translation: “To better our community.”

“Para nuestros niños.” Translation: “For our kids.”

“Para ideas.” Translation: To give ideas.”


As we work to develop our Three Year Plan from this meeting, we do so rooted in the dreams and recommendations of the Chirilagua community. We are relational in all that we do. These meetings are part of the bonds we continue to form with those we live alongside of and serve with every day. We look forward to seeing these roots grow a fruitful future for years to come!


To see more photos of the strategic direction planning meetings, click here.

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.