These are “Do it yourself” (DIY) volunteer activities, to be completed at home and then sent to the CIS office. You can view instructions for each of these opportunities below. For questions, please reach out to [email protected]

Calm Down Kits

Create calm down kits for students. When a child becomes anxious or stressed in school, it’s important for them to have the tools and skills to cope with their emotions. Things like play doh, stress balls and fidget spinners are great tools for elementary students who need a few minutes to regroup.

Pack a few of the calm down items below into Ziploc bags or donate individual items.

  • Stress balls; can be store bought or DIY (rice or flour inside a balloon)
  • Play doh
  • Silly putty
  • Fidget spinners
  • Slow rising squishies
  • Bendy noodles
  • Any similar manipulative or sensory toys

Virtual Story Time Videos

Record a video of yourself reading a children’s book in English or Spanish. We want to build a virtual “library” of story time videos that teachers can share with their students.


If recording on your phone, please record videos horizontally, save as an .mp4 (or other similar file type such as .mov, .mpeg4, or .mjpeg) and submit online through this link. Please remember to speak slowly, clearly and loudly. If you encounter any issues submitting videos you can instead email them to [email protected].

Feel free to dress up, be silly, and have fun! Please record videos in front of a neutral background, such as an empty wall.

We would prefer that readers read from physical books as if you were reading for an in-person story time. You can check your local library to find copies of these books or purchase a used copy from Thriftbooks (

Below is a list of authors suggested across our elementary schools, and linked are two United Way Reading Lists for elementary aged youth. Any of these books would be great!

United Way’s 10 books that foster resiliency in young children

United Way’s 10 books that celebrate family generations


    • Mo Willems
    • Jory John
    • Jon Klassen
    • Laura Numeroff
    • Kevin Henkes
    • David Shannon
    • Cynthia Rylant
    • Books from the Pete the Cat book series

Letters of Congratulations

Write congratulatory letters to students in transition years (moving from elementary to middle school or middle to high school) or students graduating from high school. Help us celebrate all their hard work!

Please mail letters to Communities In Schools of Chesterfield, P.O. Box 10, Chesterfield, VA 23832.


We hope to give every letter we receive to a student. To ensure that happens, we ask that you please keep the following in mind when crafting your letters:

  • Write legibly! Write your words big, do not use cursive, and keep your word choice on the shorter side. Could a young student read your letter by themselves?
  • Do not include any religious references
  • Check spelling and grammar before mailing cards
  • Keep messages short, sweet, and positive
  • Please write the grade level on the bottom right corner of the envelope.

Simply put: remember your audience!

Example messages:

  • “Congratulations on your promotion! You are going to rock it next year at your new school!! Have a great summer!”
  • “Woohoo! Congrats on moving up! Good luck next year!”
  • “You did it!! Congrats on your promotion – now, on to the next school! You’re going to do great!”
  • Congratulations Graduate 2023! You did it!

Counting Kits

Create counting kits for pre-k students. Counting kits are great tools for young learners to practice counting with objects and comparing quantities.


Place 30-50 counters in a Ziploc bag. Things that make great counters are dry beans, dry macaroni, pom poms, cotton balls, buttons, and marbles.

Anywhere around 25-50 counters (depending on the size of the counter) in each Ziploc bag– probably sandwich size but whatever size fits the counters best. Things like dry beans, dry macaroni, pom poms, cotton balls, buttons, and marbles make great counters because they’re easy for preschoolers to pick up and handle themselves.

Volunteers can drop off completed projects at our main office Monday-Friday during regular business hours. Please reach out to us prior to drop off. Our office address is 1808 Coyote Dr, Suite 100, Chester, VA 23836; we are the first door on the left after walking through the main entrance.

If mailing cards, please mail them to Communities In Schools of Chesterfield, P.O. Box 10, Chesterfield, VA, 23832.