I was driving back from the 4th and 5th grade field trip to see The Lorax with three of the kids and Onelio – one of our local volunteers from Chirilagua. Onelio was telling us a bit about his story; how he came to the US as a child and had to learn English, but was now at college. One of the kids in the back asked Onelio how old he was, and then went quiet as he did the Math in his head; “wow” he said, “so in ten years time I’ll be in college”.
It is so important for kids to have aspirations, but it struck me, that this kind of aspiration was not the norm for a kid from a poor immigrant community such as Chirilagua. I was so encouraged that this student had hopes for a bright future and was not being held back by a sense of limitation. But more than that, I was delighted that this example was not being set by me, from my well-educated middle class background, but by someone from within his own community who understood and had overcome the very same challenges most of the kids in Kid’s Club are going to have to face.
It reminded me why Casa Chirilagua’s calling to raise up local leaders was so important, and just how much the people living in this community have to give.
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.
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.