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Sharing the love: Students create Valentine's Day cards for nursing home residents

The Evening News and The Tribune - 2/12/2020

Feb. 12--SOUTHERN INDIANA -- With a pencil firmly in hand, 6-year-old William Anderson went to task, drawing a Valentine's Day card inspired by the Minecraft video game.

"It's for the nursing home, to make them feel better," Anderson said, without pausing in his creation. "So they can be happy."

Middle school students at Christian Academy of Indiana came to help Jamie Tackett's first grade class with creating Valentine's Day cards for area nursing home residents.

"They get a lot of attention at the Christmas holidays, but then they're kind of forgotten after that and so WAY-FM started this Cards that Care initiative," CAI elementary principal Monica Allison said. "This will be our second year to partner with them."

Soon, CAI students will have more than 380 cards to share with nursing home residents. The cards will be collected by the radio station and distributed to local nursing homes. Last year, the radio station filmed the card giveaway, so that students could see the effect they had on the residents.

Students said they were happy to step up to the task and give back to others.

"I'm giving the card to the people who feel lonely and don't get visits," said 7-year-old Kiam Peterson. "I think they are going to be happy. I hope they like it. I wish they have a great day."

Alivia Elkin, 7, focused on drawing a baby Jesus with a heart above it to spread cheer.

"I think it feels good, because you're helping God's people and helping God's people is awesome," Elkin said while creating a pop-up heart in her card.

For 12-year-old Reagan Lanum, it was a trip down memory lane.

"It makes me remember how it was in first grade," he said, pausing. "I loved it!"

Allison said she hopes students learn an important lesson.

"We use this opportunity to help the kids see that there are ways that they can reach out to other people and even though they don't get to see these people personally, that the card can encourage them and let them know that someone cares for them," Allison said.

Ben Smith, community impact director for WAY-FM, said he's worked with nursing homes in the past and knew a project like this would have an impact.

"We're all about making a positive impact in the community and really demonstrating Jesus's love in a tangible way," Smith said. "I know a lot of times, they don't have a lot of visitors, so we thought that would be a great demographic of people to share some love with."

He said he hopes to distribute about 500 cards from various participating schools to local nursing homes, including Westminster Village in Clarksville, Green Valley Care Center in New Albany, and Maple Manor Christian Home in Sellersburg.

"It's great to make that connection with the young and the older," Smith said. "They can both show joy and love to one another."

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