Ms. Janice came to Casa Chirilagua as a Kids Club volunteer in May of 2010. Still somewhat new to the area and looking for a full time job, Brenda Bengochea, the children’s coordinator at Janice’s church, suggested she volunteer some of her free time with Casa Chirilagua. It didn’t take Ms. Janice long to understand the rhythm of Kids Club and in no time, she was helping with lessons and making great suggestions. When the summer program started Ms. Janice came regularly to the morning sessions to help with the 1st – 3rd grade program and also helped chaperon field trips. Before she knew it, Ms. Janice caught the “Casa bug” and couldn’t tear herself away from the students, their families or the neighborhood.
In the fall, Ms. Janice became one of our most reliable volunteers helping organize the volunteer appreciation banquet, executing our first fundraiser, serving on the fundraising committee, going on almost every field trip, volunteering in the office and most importantly, showing up at Kids Club almost every day. She even traveled with us to Chicago in October for her first Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference. If the doors were open at Casa Chiri, Ms. Janice was there.
Part of the way through the fall, Ms. Janice was becoming frustrated that her long job search hadn’t turned up any promising leads. We prayed with her that the Lord would provide the right opportunity in the field where she was looking, non-profit development. We knew Casa Chiri could use her skills but the infrastructure and funding just wasn’t in place. The Casa Chiri staff began to wonder what we would do when we lost Ms. Janice to a full-time job. The Lord has an interesting way of answering prayers.
In December, the Casa Chiri staff received notification from Janice’s church that there was a year end surplus in the outreach budget and they wanted to know if it would be helpful to use the funds to hire Ms. Janice. We said, “Yes!” and gave thanks to God.
In January 2011, just after we incorporated, the Casa Chirilagua staff team grew to three strong by adding our new Development Director/Children’s Bible Lesson extraordinaire, Ms. Janice Philips. We are so grateful to have her on the team!