At Casa Chirilagua, program staff live in the neighborhood and actively participate in community life. Living in Chirilagua enables our relational model; staff can consistently visit families in their homes to discuss program activities, celebrate a birthday, or share a coffee. Every activity and program implemented by Casa Chirilagua starts with listening and conversation in the neighborhood.



Adriana Schellhaas

Executive Director: A Mexican-American born and raised in the border town of El Paso, Texas, Adriana began volunteering with Casa Chirilagua as an interpreter and mentor in 2011, then joined the staff in 2012. As Executive Director she helps bridge the gap between our families, students, staff, volunteers, churches and school partners. She holds a Bachelors in Theater Arts.

Marissa Salgado

Youth Programs Director: A California native now on the East Coast, Marissa leads alongside our Local Leaders directing all of our Youth Programs. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, Marissa's time was focused on Maternal and Child health concerns. She holds a bachelors degree in International Affairs with a Public Health concentration from George Washington University.

Liz Wang

Family Programs Director: Liz recently moved to Virginia from Guadalajara, Mexico, and joined Casa Chirilagua in September 2017. She has worked to support human rights internationally, and is now dedicated to promoting positive community and strong social bonds within the local community.

Jose Martinez

Mentoring Director: As a first generation Salvadorean-American, Jose was raised in the Northern Virginia area. He has attended Northern Virginia Community College and currently attends George Mason University pursuing a bachelors degree in political science. Jose believes that positive influences help shape perspectives. He facilitates this by matching youth in the Chirilagua neighborhood to adult mentors while building relationships with families, volunteers and schools.

Lauren Wallace

Business Manager: Lauren lived in New Orleans, LA for 20 years before relocating back to Arlington, VA with her husband and family. She joined our staff part time in May 2019 bringing years of experience as a controller for several small family owned companies. She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors degree in Accounting.

Matthew Gillette

Volunteer Coordinator: A Virginia native who ended up in Alexandria for an internship in the summer of 2013. He started volunteering with Casa Chirilagua in 2014, joining staff in 2019. He describes himself as a neighbor, friend, missionary, practitioner, ordained minister, social activist, community organizer, and hopeful social entrepreneur. He lives with his wife Abby in the Lynnhaven Neighborhood of Alexandria.

Lisa Aneiva

Development Director: Lisa joined the not-for-profit sector after leaving a corporate finance career and became a Certified Advocate so that she could support survivors of sexual violence. In 2019 Lisa joined our staff part time to direct the organization's fundraising activities and development plans. Lisa holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MBA from the George Washington University.

Local Leaders

Local young adults serve as Assistant Kids Club Directors caring for students, developing program content, directing volunteers and overseeing all of the details that make the program possible each day. As part of the Local Leaders Program they acquire job experience and receive professional development opportunities while participating in professional mentoring and receiving support for continuing education.

Jennifer Huntley

Communications Director: Jennifer joined the staff team as a part-time role to capture stories of hope and help Casa Chirilagua reach more people. She has a Bachelor's in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College. Jennifer also brings over 10 years of experience in media & communications roles from her past in Christian summer camp ministries and church planting networks.