“Usually when people move into a new neighborhood, you bring them cookies,” says Marcio Sierra, pastor of Lighthouse Church. The private school associated with his church is moving to a new neighborhood, but this time they’re the ones bringing the cookies — metaphorically.

This Saturday, the school will host a block party from 1 to 4 pm at its new location, 6400 Schroeder Road, on Madison’s west side. It’s the school’s chance to introduce itself to the neighborhood, Sierra says.

“This time we are the ones who want to just go to the neighborhood and say, ‘Hey, we’re here, we’re your neighbors. We’re just here to be a light here, to love all the people here, to serve.’ And that’s what we want to do.”

The block party, which is one of three such events co-sponsored by Selfless Ambition and Madison365, will feature free food, bounce houses for kids, face painting and live music. The first of the three block parties was last weekend at Aldo Leopold Park, and the third will be August 26 at Mendota Elementary.

What we want it to be is just for people to get a sense of a big picnic,” Sierra says. “And just a lot of friendship. What we want is just something very informal, but where we can just start a friendship with the neighborhood. And we really want to hear what people are saying.”

Sierra says the party will have opportunities for neighborhood residents to communicate what they feel the neighborhood has to offer and what it needs.

“We want to move into this neighborhood, and more than just a school, we want to be able to help the neighborhood become something better,” Sierra says. “So we want to hear about people’s needs. So we’re gonna be asking people, ‘So what are things that this neighborhood needs? What can we do to be a blessing to this neighborhood? How can the school help the neighborhood?'”


Lighthouse Christian School is moving to the Schroeder Road neighborhood in part because many of its 95 current students live there. The current location, at the corner of Regent and Whitney Way, is also at capacity.

“We serve low-income families, and our tuition’s very low, even though we are a private school,” Sierra says. “So we have always had a waiting list. And then the problem that we had was that old location, our current location, couldn’t hold more students. So we actually started renting classrooms from a church building that is about half a block away from where we are. But our students then had to walk to … in the middle of the rain, in the middle of the winter, from one building to another to go to different classes, and we realized that it was time to expand.”

Sierra says this coming year enrollment will expand to 150 in grades 4K through seventh, with an eye toward a capacity of 260 in coming years.

“Lighthouse Christian School is doing just incredible things, and we’re really excited to partner with them to help them get introduced to their new neighborhood,” says Madison365 CEO and Selfless Ambition co-founder Henry Sanders. “They have more students of color and more students living in poverty than most other schools in Madison and those students are really achieving great things. It’s an inspiring story and I can’t wait to keep telling it.”