If you walk into one of Faith that Works’ tutoring trailers in the Chesterfield Mobile Home Park on a Tuesday afternoon during the school year, you’ll enter a lively, friendly environment. You’ll see volunteers working one-on-one or in small groups with children on homework, kids reading independently or with an adult, and children working on craft projects or hands-on activities. You’ll probably also see Christie Castagno, one of our regular tutoring volunteers, who has a heart for the mission and supporting the children in their education.
Christie (L) with Winnie, another tutoring volunteer

Christie (L) with Winnie, another tutoring volunteer

Christie met FTW’s founder, Terri, through her job teaching junior kindergarten at a local school that some of Terri’s children attended. She was drawn to Terri’s desire to put faith into action through practical service and started supporting Faith that Works. As Christie began receiving news and updates on the outreaches, she learned about our outreach in the Chesterfield Mobile Home Park to Hispanic families and immigrants. She had driven past the trailer park before and had always wondered who lived there. Though Christie did not have much prior experience working in a Hispanic community, the idea of serving in the Hispanic Outreach at the CMHP community stuck with her. She had learned about the challenges faced by immigrants and refugees through a study at her church and worked with a Congolese family for a year, helping them get groceries each week. As Christie continued learning about FTW’s outreach programs in the CMHP, she decided to start volunteering with the weekly after-school tutoring program. The role would allow her to serve out of her skill set as a teacher and build positive, encouraging relationships with children in the community. Christie began serving as a volunteer tutor with us in the fall of 2014. As a tutor, Christie usually works one-on-one or in a small group with kids in the tutoring program on homework, reading, and crafts each week. She also helped develop curriculum for the Summer Reading Program. Christie remembers working with one 3rd grade girl on a research report about the man who invented crayons - Edwin Binney. Together, they looked up articles and wrote down facts. The young girl’s enthusiasm showed through as she practiced reciting the report aloud with Christie. After reciting it three times, she knew the whole thing! Meaningful moments happen each week at tutoring. Christie says she thinks the kids in the CMHP enjoy the program because it gives them a fun environment where they can get homework help. It also helps the children build confidence and know there are other people who care for them. We’re thankful for volunteers like Christie who offer time and support to children and families in the CMHP. Through simple activities like reading with a child, relationships are growing across cultures and love continues to spread.
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