Ready, Set, Grow!

Sep 5, 2013

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes. During a recent visit to Illinois, I was overwhelmed by the over abundance of my parents’ Midwestern August garden. At any given time, the eight tomato plants were heavy with over a hundred healthy bright red, juicy tomatoes. I would walk out to the garden to pick a tomato or two for our evening meal and I couldn’t stop picking. My mom would ask, “What took so long?” and I would respond sheepishly with a smile on my face as I revealed the 20 tomatoes in my bucket yet I was still thinking about the other ripe tomatoes hanging on the vine waiting to be harvested. Friends and neighbors would regularly stop by, pop their head in the house and say, “Hey Gary and Brenda, I came by to pick some tomatoes!” My parents would happily oblige and found great joy in sharing the harvest.

The process began about three months prior. I remember it well from my childhood. The soil was prepared, the starter plants were carefully and strategically planted, and cage supports were put in place. With the right amount of sunlight, a bit of weeding, a sufficient amount of water, and a bit of daily maintenance and care, the plants pretty much do what they are created to do, they grow.

Over the past month the Casa Chirilagua parents, volunteers and staff have been planning, strategizing and preparing for the new school year. Students are back in school, kids are registered for our programs, volunteers are being trained, curriculum is being developed, parents are attending orientations, and we are ready to launch our programs for another school year! As we have planned and prepared the soil, we trust with a bit of love, care, weeding, watering, “son light,” and a bit of daily maintenance and support, our students will do what they were created to do, GROW.  They will grow academically, physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually into very healthy young people who themselves produce a harvest of kindness, care, love and academic success. We humbly remind ourselves of our role to do the work of preparation and maintenance and much like the tomato plants, God enters into the work of our hands intervening by some divine miracle, which we do not understand, growing and transforming our little community into a beautiful harvest.

Please pray for our staff, volunteers and parents as we communally love and support our 70+ students through another academic year via Kids Club, Teens Club, Mentoring, Leaders in Training (LIT) and Bible Studies.

Excited For the Growing Season,


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.