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Community Spotlight


On a recent walkthrough of locker rooms, auditorium backstage areas, and the music spaces, at John Rolfe Middle School, Principal Darryl Johnson said, “Imagine coming to work and having to walk on books to get to storage spaces.” 


With constant teacher turn-over the past couple of years, including the entire athletic department, the summers have been spent hiring staff and focused on welcoming students for a new school year. There’s been no spare time to figure out what is in boxes and bags crowding the locker rooms and backstage areas.


When Start 1 Spark’s Amber Lancaster heard of the CarMax Cares volunteer opportunity, she knew exactly what project to propose on the application. “Having a corporate volunteer team like CarMax spend the afternoon cleaning out these spaces and taking an inventory of equipment means Start 1 Spark and JRMS can better fulfill student needs. We are most effective when our partner schools know what they have and the condition of equipment, instruments, and materials.”


This past Tuesday, a team of 13 CarMax employees spent four hours cleaning these spaces, inventorying instruments, and reorganizing the spaces so teachers and students can easily access materials when school resumes in August. 


Andrew Pasquale, CarMax team organizer, said, “One of CarMax's core values is to support their associates in the workplace and the communities where they live. At our Richmond area stores and corporate offices, we have several associates who either attended John Rolfe Middle School or have children attending there, which made this volunteer opportunity particularly meaningful for our team.” 


CarMax volunteers created a comprehensive new inventory list of instruments with serial and model numbers, went to new heights cleaning out the backstage area, and completely filled a dumpster with decades of stage props and old sports equipment. 


JRMS staff, including Music Director Amaris Franklin, Athletic Director Rodney Wilson, and Theater Director Toniraye Moss, were incredibly grateful for the support CarMax volunteers provided throughout the afternoon. “I am truly speechless at the level of work and outcome. The humble spirit of everyone helping made this amazing outcome possible,” said Ms. Moss.


“I founded Start 1 Spark with a vision of bringing community members together to support students in their athletic and artistic hopes and dreams. This afternoon was really inspirational in seeing that vision come to life. We are so grateful to CarMax for creating spaces that will spark inspiration and creativity in students,” said Lancaster.

Start a Spark in Your Community

Your organization's support can help Richmond-area middle schoolers engage with their school communities.


It's easy to donate to support area middle schools' top needs. Interested in a custom donation tailored to your company's purpose and social responsibility goals? Contact us and we'll find the perfect opportunity for you to support a local middle school organization in need.

Volunteer as a Group

Rally your team to create Fuel for Fun snack kits for middle school athletes who may not have access to healthy snacks. Assembling and delivering kits is an easy, hands-on team-building experience for any group looking to give back to their community. Contact us to get started.

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