D’s Corner: It’s REALLY Official!

It’s really official! On May 19th, Casa Chirilagua received 501(c)(3) exemption status from the IRS. The approval came in record time (less than a one month turn around) allowing us to apply for grants, enroll in programs only available to 501(c)(3) organizations and receive funds from foundations.

This past Saturday, we held the Kids Club Year End Celebration in which all of our students received individualized awards and the parents made food as a thank you for our Kids Club volunteers and in-home mentors.  29 out of 30 students showed up for the celebration. We tracked six volunteers who logged over 100 hours with the program and 40 in-home mentors. We had over 100 volunteers come to Kids Club this year giving over 2,000 hours of volunteer time.

In the Middle School realm we are making some changes to our strategy. As an organization we don’t want to push too hard and too fast causing our staff to burn out and our effectiveness to crumble.  We will be holding off on the launch of a school-based middle school tutoring program until the fall of 2012. Instead we will offer more informal tutoring support for our four graduating 5th graders and will continue with volunteer based middle school spiritual outreach efforts in the neighborhood.  Additionally, we will strengthen and expand the Kids Club program as well as grow and intensify the L.I.T. (Leaders in Training) program for the current rising 5th grade class.  This will enable us to launch the middle school tutoring program in the fall of 2012 with a strong leadership base that is steeped in Casa Chirilagua culture and expectations.

This summer we are piloting an Indigenous Leaders program in an effort to invest in local, young leaders who are committed to the neighborhood and its transformation. We have raised the money necessary for our first intern. We need $800 more to hire the second intern.  Please let us know if you are interested in supporting in this way.

In a few weeks, our 4th and 5th grade students will leave for Passport Camp in North Carolina where they will be learning about missions and service with a particular focus on China. Our students and parents were shocked when they learned that it is illegal to share about the Christian faith in China. We still need more sponsorships to make this trip happen.  You can sponsor a student by giving $150.  We are also still in need of 5 sleeping bags for students who have need.   (Please email: dawnielle@casachirilagua.org)

Our new 4th and 5th grade students who are being added to the group for the summer missed their chance to go to Passport Camp, however, are being given the opportunity to go to a local FCA sports day camp that same week. FCA is generously offering to scholarship some of these funds. If you’d like to help a Casa Chiri Kid go to FCA camp, please donate $50.  We are also in need of a mini-van to help transport kids to and from the camp in Springfield (8am – 5pm). Please let us know if you have a vehicle you would like to lend or might be able to help with the daily transportation of these students.

Thank you volunteers and donors for making this work possible.  God certainly does provide for all of our needs through the body.

Blessings,

Dawnielle