Sharing the love

Duncombe Elementary students Thursday made valentines for Fort Dodge nursing home residents.

Katie Francis’s first-grade students spent the day making valentines for the residents of the Marian Home care facility.

“A nursing home is where old people live when they can’t take care of themselves anymore,” Francis told her students. “And you know what? Sometimes those people have family that live far away and they don’t get anything on Valentine’s Day. So sometimes they spend Valentine’s Day sad and alone.”

Francis, who did this project with her class last year, told her students the nursing home residents would appreciate receiving cards from them.

“I took them to the nursing home and do you know what I saw? Some of them started to cry,” she said. “One old man said to me, ‘No one has given me a valentine in a very long time.’ And he had tears coming down his face.”

The cards read “I hope you have a very special Valentine’s Day” and are addressed to no one specifically.

The project also ties in with the principles of Rachel’s Challenge, which the Fort Dodge Community School District adopted in January.

“We have four of Rachel’s Challenges,” Francis said. “We’re working on two of those. Do nice things by giving a valentine card and we’re starting a chain reaction. When we do something nice for someone else, they might do something nice for a different person and that’s when it gets started.”

The students also made more specific valentine notes for the people they love.

“You’re going to fill the whole page with things that you love about your mom or your dad or your grandma or your grandpa,” she said.

Eric Halverson, Marian Home administrator, said the students’ efforts were appreciated.

“It was very welcome and well-received, and appreciated and kind-hearted,” he said.

Francis said it was one of her favorite projects.

“I love doing this because it teaches our kids to pay it forward,” she said. “It’s just a way we can teach our kids to give to other people without it costing any money. And the kids seem to enjoy it.”

Kathy Kudron’s third-grade students made valentines for Villa Care Center in Fort Dodge. This is the first year Kudron has done the project with her class, which enjoyed creating the valentines for others.

“They like passing it forward, because Valentine’s Day is such a fun day,” she said. “They’re excited.”

Kudron said it’s a good project for the lessons it teaches her students.

“There’s probably a lot of people who don’t get a valentine at all,” she said. “It’s a nice way for them to have something, and for us to show we care about others.”