Local Leader Update

Feb 8, 2016

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.

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.