Making Indigenous Leadership a Priority!

May 17, 2011


At the beginning of April, Emily Mancia, Director of the Kids Club program, attended the Christian Community Development Association Institute’s Immersion course in Chicago, IL. The immersion course is a week long intensive training which teaches community practitioners the eight key components of Christian Community Development. One of the key components discussed during the week was “Indigenous Leadership.” After debriefing Emily’s experience as a staff it remains clear that Casa Chirilagua needs to invest more time and resources into the development of young leaders in our community without the creation of an additional “program.” We began looking at our existing programs seeking out ways to add more indigenous leadership development to our existing work.

We believe the Kids Club summer program is a great place to start. We need interns who are from the neighborhood serving day in and out right alongside us. Our mission is, “Developing relationships with families to see the Chirilagua neighborhood transformed by Christ.” Why not offer the internship to a couple of college-aged students from the neighborhood who love Casa Chirilagua and would be volunteering with us anyway? Why not pay them and give them additional incentive to show up every day?  Why not give them a job rather than allow another job pull their time and skills away from Casa Chiri because necessity calls?

Our challenge to our Casa Chirilagua friends and family is to help us “put our money where our mouth is” by raising $4,000 to make “working for Casa Chirilagua” a reality for our young volunteers in need of work experience. WHEN we raise the $4,000.00 necessary for our interns by June 4th, we will put a photograph and biography of the two young leaders we will be choosing to invest in over the summer in the next newsletter. If you would like to contribute to indigenous leadership development at Casa Chirilagua, please send your pledge amount to Dawnielle Miller ( by June 4th.

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.