Hop aboard the Communities in Schools Express

Posted at 7:52 AM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 07:52:58-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Driving by a house in the Hampton Park subdivision, you might catch a glimpse of Santa Claus in the window. But don't miss this sign lit up in the front yard.

"It's a holiday light show with a mission,” Ashley Hall, Executive Director of Communities in Schools (CIS) for Chesterfield, said.

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It’s just one of a number of homes shining a light on the mission of CIS. They serve over 9,000 students at nine high-poverty schools.

Ashley didn't know what to do for their December fundraiser during the pandemic.

"We can either cancel it. We could move it to Zoom, which everybody's kind of tired of. Or we could really re-imagine something," she said.

They imagined the CIS Express.

With a package you can download from the CIS website, families can find directions to decorated holiday houses.

One homeowner they reached out to was Michael Lauderdale, who goes a little “Clark Griswald” during the holidays.

"Doing it for a great cause made it just a marriage,” Lauderdale said.

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People passing by each home can check out the decorations.

Then, by accessing a QR code, can watch a video about how CIS helps low-income families.

At Michael's house, you can access a video and learn how CIS is tackling learning gaps and attendance problems at Salem Church Middle School.

"Trying to raise some money for our kids in our local school system in underprivileged areas,” he said. “Very, very great cause for us to participate in."

"We thought, what a great win-win if we could have a fun, safe, family festive event where folks are also learning about the work that we do," Hall said.

School can be scary for some kids and families. Hopefully, the CIS Express can help them by educating others on how to help them by volunteering, mentoring or donating to communities in schools of Chesterfield.

It’s a light show with a mission that's Building Better Minds.

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