Casa Chirilagua is a community of people “learning together to love their neighbors as themselves” in a Latino neighborhood in Alexandria.
Casa Chirilagua is a community of people “learning together to love their neighbors as themselves” in a Latino neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. We are a faith-based Christian, 501(c)(3) non-profit with nine staff members and over 100 weekly volunteers who serve more than 80 children (1st-8th grades) and their families via multiple programs. Our mission is “Developing relationships with families to see the Chirilagua neighborhood transformed by Christ.”
What does “Chirilagua” mean? The Arlandria/Chirilagua neighborhood is home to a sizable Latino population, mainly from Central America. When civil war broke out in El Salvador in the 1980′s, many families immigrated to the U.S. seeking safety including a group of people from a little Salvadoran village called “Chirilagua.” As several of those individuals started their new lives in Alexandria they referred to their new home as “Little Chirilagua.” Today our neighborhood is very diverse, including a significant remnant of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and other parts of the world.
Our first program, Kids Club, began as a grassroots after school reading club with a handful of students in an apartment, run by volunteers. From there, it grew into an educational after school program run by multiple staff members and numerous volunteers, with a constant enrollment waitlist.
All other Casa Chirilagua programs have grown from our flagship Kids Club program. Our students develop relationships with one-on-one mentors in our Mentoring program, graduate to our middle school program, Teens Club, and potentially join our Leaders in Training (LIT) student leadership program. Our students also have opportunities to attend evening age and gender appropriate bible studies in the neighborhood, where they are always welcome to bring friends and family with them.
For more details about Casa Chirilagua, visit our website: CasaChirilagua.org