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Community Spotlight


“Accomplished,” replied a volunteer when asked how she felt after building a set box. On Martin Luther King Day, a group of 21 volunteers braved the cold and wintery mix to join Start 1 Spark and build theater set pieces for Falling Creek Middle School’s drama program. 


After four years without a drama program due to staff vacancy, Falling Creek reading specialist, Kate Hundley, was determined to revive it. “I saw the incredible impact theatre had on our students. They weren’t just missing out on a fun outlet, but on life opportunities, simply because they weren’t afforded the chance,” she said. But with so much time having passed and an overcrowded school using every space possible for teaching, many of the previous pieces were damaged or lost.


For Start 1 Spark, building new set pieces was the perfect opportunity to further its goal of bringing the larger community together to build stronger school communities. Says founder, Amber Lancaster, “We focus on engaging the community to support our partner schools’ extracurricular programs so more students can discover their interests and find their friend group. It’s important that all students feel that they have a community within their school and that doesn’t happen if the school doesn’t have the resources to offer enriching extracurriculars.”


Volunteer teams from Walmart, Hourigan, and The Life Church RVA joined individual volunteers to build five set cubes and three folding flats that can be painted and used for a variety of backgrounds and purposes. With tools borrowed from the ToolBank and a generous grant from Target Corporation, volunteers spent four hours assembling wood pieces into 18-in cubes and three 8-ft by 4-ft paneled flats that middle school drama students can move to set the stage for different scenes. 









The impact of the project will be seen this spring when the pieces are utilized in the staging of Down the Wrong Beanstalk, a comedic twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. Drama club students will be able to paint different scenes and explore ways to turn the stage into a living room.

For nearly 30 years, Martin Luther King Day has become synonymous with a day of service encouraging community members to volunteer their time with an organization working to address inequities in their community. Many volunteers appreciated the opportunity to work with colleagues and friends to give back to the community while others expressed excitement at learning new skills, such as reading schematics, and gained confidence using power tools. All answered Dr. Rev. King’s question, “What are you doing for others?”


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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