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Valentine’s Day for Our Veterans: A Work of Heart
by Susie Lyons, Director of MS Service Learning and Veteran Education

Candy, assorted chocolates, flowers, heart-shaped notes—what’s not to like about Valentine’s Day? Except for maybe the hard-to-get dinner reservations. This sweet celebration, which happens every year on February 14, is all about spreading the love and what a perfect holiday to let our neighbor Veterans at the West Los Angeles VA Campus know we care and are thinking of them! This year, our Lower School students, 6th graders, the Middle School Service Leadership Team, and the Upper School VA Student Support Group created handmade Valentine cards, art, and gift bags for Veterans. 

Students decorated hand-cut pink, purple, and red hearts and wrote thoughtful messages to Veterans, creating a total of over 400 handmade cards! Some messages expressed appreciation for our Veterans along with reasons why students wanted to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day. Some students also thanked Veterans for their service, sacrifice, and commitment to our country and citizens, and others wrote poems. 

Some of these sincere, handcrafted cards were sent with cookies to Voluntary Services at the VA, and others were placed in 200 Valentine bags created by the Upper School VA Student Support Group. Each bag was filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss (thank you to Coach Kelson for the floss donation!), hand sanitizer, a pair of socks, a mask, a Vitamin-C pack, Hershey Kisses, and of course, a student handmade card. Bags were distributed to Care, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Services (CTRS) and Bridge Home at the VA Campus. 

In addition to creating cards, our 6th graders hand painted stones and rocks, which will be placed alongside the road on the VA Campus leading to our Brentwood School back gate. Our Veterans will receive a warm welcome as they enter campus and head to the Welcome Center. Some stones were painted with positive, meaningful words, such as “Courage,” “Hero,” “Thank You,” and “Peace." While other stones displayed original drawings, including artistic eagles, the American Flag, and other patriotic symbols. Our hope is to add to these stones each year, so that the back entrance is paved with messages of gratitude, respect, and care for Veterans. Additionally, 6th graders created a wooden banner to be hung in Building 209 for the 55 Veterans who live there. Each Veteran resident in 209 had their name decorated on a wooden piece, specifically created and designed by a 6th Grade student. All the wooden pieces will be strung together and hung on their lobby wall.

View a gallery of images.

Our hope is that these sentiments, gifts, and cards show Veterans how much we appreciate them. It would heart-ly be Valentine’s Day without meaningful effort and care given to the heroes of our country!

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