Our Own Little Group

Jan 27, 2020

Growing up in the tight knit community of Chirilagua, fifth graders Amelia and Gisselle have become inseparable friends. Their close bond formed over the past years, bringing their families together in the process. They spend time in the same elementary school, hang out together during Kids Club and sometimes spend time at each other’s homes. Amelia and Giselle would agree that they are each other’s best friends.

Their organic relationship began from a group of close first grade friends and has flourished ever since then. As Amelia puts it, “We had our own little group between close friends, then some of those friends eventually moved away.” Now Amelia and Giselle remain as the last standing of the once formed group.

When the duo isn’t busy with school or hanging out at Kids Club, they’re spending time with their mentors. Amelia was matched one year ago in the Mentoring Program with Marissa. Marissa’s heart to be a part of the Chirilagua community has shown through the genuine-relationship her and Amelia have built in the past year. For Amelia, she wanted a mentor that would be involved with her whole family. That has come true as Marissa shows up to family events and has furthered Casa Chirilagua’s mission of developing relationships with families in the neighborhood.

“Sometimes, we’ll hang out at Subway and she’ll share stories with me. She’s a good story teller! I admire that you can tell she cares about others,” Amelia says with a bright smile. 

It’s no wonder that Amelia surrounds herself with positive influences like Marissa and Giselle. Great minds think alike –– or differently as Giselle puts it, “I like that we can think differently, but still agree on the same thing.”

Like Amelia, Giselle gained a new friend through the Mentoring Program this past Fall. Giselle’s mentorship with Maricarmen developed through fun activities like baking and creating vision boards.

“She’s Latina and we have much more in common. She went to college and has an important job, too. I can see myself doing the same and having a good job in the future,” says Giselle reflecting on why she admires her mentor.

Just like Amelia and Giselle have been able to bring their families together through their friendship with one another, the duo has also brought their mentors together for combined mentoring sessions. Maricarmen and Marissa planned a Spa Day for the group where they painted their nails and made face masks, all the while eating snacks. They didn’t stop there as the group went onto enjoy ice skating together.

“It took me a moment to stop and think about how my friends were all together in the same place. It made me really happy,” reflected Giselle.

In only one year, bonds have grown, relationships have developed and the beauty of two or four worlds colliding have created wonderful memories.

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.

Learn More

Get Involved

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.