CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Despite hard times in local school districts, students will see some unexpected improvements when they go back to school thanks to group of 500 good citizens from Chesterfield and the tri-cities area.
There are a dozen other things 13-year-old Collin Hahn could be doing on a sizzling summer Saturday.
"I'd probably be out running or biking and doing laps at the pool or just playing video games and staying home and watching TV," he said.
But this Saturday is different.
He and 500 others from the Colonial Heights Baptist Church are giving their time for one purpose, getting the schools ready for a new year.
Pastor Randy Hahn says they're making an investment in their community- landscaping, painting, power washing and doing small construction jobs to make local schools a better place.
"We love our schools. We love our community. And this is a small attempt to give a little bit back and to make everything go a bit further," he said.
Matoaca High School Principal Steve Cunningham knows all about making things go a bit further.
The district has had to consider cutting jobs, reducing pay and eliminating some programs.
Volunteers have become more crucial than ever.
"It really helps us get some things done that we may not otherwise be able to get done," Cunningham said.
Last year, Matoaca High was the only school volunteers were able to fix up.
This year it's one of 20 school cleanup projects.
Rising eighth grader Collin, who will eventually attend this school, says those projects have a huge impact on students.
"When you go to a school and it's nice here you're like, 'oh I want to learn more' and it feels good to learn better because you know your school is all nice but when you go to a place that's trashy, you definitely don't feel like you're getting the same learning experience," he said.
The church also helped schools in Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Prince George.
We're told Saturday's work totals about $5,000 and that doesn't include the money schools would've had to pay hired workers to do these tasks.