‘Jailbirds’ benefit schools

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Driver Elementary rising first-grader Peyton Chinn helps her mother, Kristee Chinn, and grandmother, Sis Lauver, deliver bags of classroom supplies to the school Tuesday. The supplies were donated by organizers of the village’s National Night Out after a fundraising “jail” exceeded expectations.

After the unexpected success of a fundraising initiative at last week’s National Night Out in Driver, event organizers have decided to spread the joy at two elementary schools.

Its coordinator, Ken Parsons, of Driver’s Knot Hole Station Store, said a “jail” at the event — from which prominent citizens could only be released by raising enough bond money — was wildly successful.

“The jail just raised so much more money (than expected),” Parsons said at Driver Elementary School Tuesday. “It paid for all the children’s activities (at the NNO event), then we want to spend it here.”

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More than $900 in extra funds means teachers at the Driver school and nearby Florence Bowser Elementary will have bags of classroom supplies waiting for them when they start the new school year.

Each bag contains two reams of copy paper, a book of reward stickers, glue, markers, crayons, pencils and more.

“They needed paper; that was the No.1 thing,” said Driver Elementary parent Kristee Chinn, one of numerous volunteers — many of them children — on the project.

Chinn did all the shopping with her mother, Sis Lauver.

“I love it,” Chinn continued, saying that classrooms are “definitely” a good destination for the extra money. “It just keeps the teachers from having to go out of pocket to make sure that the kids have what they need.”

Change from the shopping trip was spent stocking teachers’ lounges with bottled water, she said.

One of the jail’s more lucrative inmates was the Chick-Fill-A cow, Parsons said. “People just randomly started getting in the jail,” he added.

“We were hoping for $100 per person … and a lot of them came in with $200, and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s the easiest way I have ever seen to raise money. Instead of writing out a check, the people actually had fun with it.”

Parsons estimated that more than 400 people attended the Driver NNO last Tuesday. “The food line had 100 people in it,” he said.

Driver Elementary principal Melodie Griffin was full of praise for the support.

“We absolutely appreciate everything that has been donated,” she said. “It’s going to be a wonderful asset to our teachers, and we are very grateful and appreciative of everything that they have done.”