In August of 2017 leaders from the Chirilagua community met to plan the strategic direction of Casa Chirilagua for the next three years. One goal that emerged from that process was the desire to strengthen families in our community. As Mario remarked, “Sometimes our families aren’t strong, then the community is not strong. We want to have unity within our families.”
With this as one of five new directional focuses of the organization, Casa began seeking opportunities to strengthen families in our community. When we met Pastor Arispe through a friend of Casa, we were elated by the passion and experience he brought to the table. Equipped with an extensive training and education in psychology and pastoral counseling, his professional and life experience (including being a native Spanish speaker) was just what our community was requesting. However it was his passion to, “See families restored and to better equip the next generation,” and his warm, pastoral and fatherly nature made him a great fit for our Casa families.
“This is a class that everybody should come and take,” said Irma an attendee of the Family Strengthening course. Pastor Aripe’s four part series addressed the topics of: Building Self-Esteem in children, Positive Discipline, Maintaining Open Communication, and Developing Responsibility and Character in children. He reminded participants that Self-Esteem is built when we respect and love ourselves, thus enabling us to love others. He encouraged parents to use positive discipline, “As a constructive way to develop character, being consistent and acting in consequence of the situation while avoiding anger.” He shared that parents can, “Keep the window of communication open,” by practicing active listening, avoiding arguments, resisting judgemental attitudes and allowing children to make their own decisions. This transitioned well to the last session covering Responsibility and Character encouraging parents to, “Allow your children to make their own decisions…and guide them in the process. Help them learn from their mistakes”
Pastor Arispe created a safe space for attendees to ask questions, express concerns and listen to others’ parenting victories and challenges. Ana Luz who is the mother of a teenager and young boy said, “I feel very confident to talk about what is happening in my life within this group…because other times it is difficult to trust people.” She went on to express the importance of sharing, listening and respecting what others have to say.
As a way to increase accessibility to these trainings for parents who were not able to attend, Casa Chirilagua broadcasted each session Live via Facebook. This yielded a great turnout as the courses collectively received over 1,500 views. Additionally, Pastor Arispe now continues to serve our community through individualized pastoral meetings for individuals seeking help and guidance. Monica, who is a mother who met with him for pastoral care has shared, “Meeting with the pastor has been life changing for me. He has given great support and advice.”
To view or share these trainings with other Spanish-speaking parents, please visit the video feeds here: