November 3, 2016
“Is Sylvia all right?” The anxious voice on the telephone was inquiring about her three-year old daughter. Sylvia had started preschool the day before and her mother was concerned that she might not adjust to the new setting. “Sylvia’s fine,” answered the preschool director, “I was in her classroom and saw her just a few minutes ago. She’s playing with a puzzle.”
Every September, the first few weeks of preschool bring new children to La Casa Community Center. Some have older sisters and brothers who have attended the preschool, but for most it is a new experience for both the children and their parents.
Founded by the Rev. César and Angelita Lizárraga in 1946, La Casa celebrates 70 years of service in San Gabriel, Calif.. This historic town, one of the oldest in the state, grew up around the Spanish Franciscan mission. Today descendents of Gabrieleno/Tongva Native Americans; immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Viet Nam; African- and Euro-Americans live here—and come to La Casa.
The mission statement sums it up: “La Casa enhances the well-being of the families it serves by providing educational and social services that promote self-sufficiency and motivation for lifelong learning.” Classes in parenting (U.S. style), English as a second language, financial literacy and nutrition help newcomers adapt to the cultural norms. A food pantry provides emergency supplies to La Casa’s families and to homeless people who stop by. New clothing is available to children in special need, thanks to a partnership with a volunteer from nearby San Marino.
Parents like Sylvia’s pay a modest amount based on their income. The sliding-scale tuition provides about one-third of the total cost of La Casa’s program. All other funds must be raised with donations from individuals, churches, service clubs, businesses, foundations and the Presbytery of San Gabriel, which owns the property and provides a monthly grant.
To support this work, please give to the Rev. César Lizárraga and Angelita Lizárraga Fund #32369235000 A1478, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation.
Jane Atkins Vasquez, La Casa Board Member, San Gabriel Presbytery
Today’s Focus: San Gabriel Presbytery
Let us join in prayer for:
The Rev. Wendy Tajima, Interim Executive Presbyter
The Rev. Diane M. Frasher, Stated Clerk
Twila French, Associate Stated Clerk/Administrator
Wendy Gist, Mission Advocate for Hunger Poverty and Peacemaking
The Rev. Rocky Supinger, Ministry Development Associate
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving God, give us eyes to see people who are “invisible” to us but who are known and deeply loved by you. Change our hearts so that we might see and serve all people as your beloved children. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.