A Boyd County Public Library program is marking an important anniversary this year.
Hands That Touch a Heart is in its 10th year. The popular program gives children the opportunity to make valentines for local seniors and for military personnel serving abroad.
Boyd County Public Library Director Debbie Cosper said she’s pleased with the growth of the project.
“What started as a simple craft project to bring some homemade valentines to people in area nursing homes has grown enormously in the past 10 years, thanks to the cooperation and participation from our wonderful community,” she said. “Through Hands That Touch a Heart, we have made more than 14,000 beautiful, one-of-a-kind cards, and are now able to also send hundreds each year to local soldiers who are away from their loved ones. It’s a terrific project made possible by all the terrific help we receive.”
Students from Crabbe Kool Kamp made 88 Valentines this year.
Patty Halterman, coordinator of the afterschool program at Crabbe, said her second- and third-graders visit the library every month and Hands That Touch a Heart was the program the library offered that day.
While it was her first experience with the program, she said she thought it was a great activity.
“I loved it. It was a great idea,” she said. “It’s a good idea for kids to learn to do for other people.”
The students enjoyed it, too.
“They kept on wanting to do more and more and more of them. Some of them did more than 10 valentines,” Halterman said. “The library does a great job with the kids at Crabbe Elementary and the programs they have for them.”
Since the program began, more than 14,000 cards have been made and delivered, Amanda Gilmore, community relations coordinator for the librarym said.
“It’s a way to make sure that as many people as possible get remembered on that day and it teaches children the importance of giving to someone, especially something they make themselves,” she said.
Amanda Clark, the library’s adult programming supervisor, said the program is one of her favorites.
“I think I enjoy it because of its simplicity,” Clark said. “BCPL supplies a template and supplies at all three branches. The card maker (young and old are welcome to help) traces his or her hand, decorates the card and adds a message.”
The library collects and distributes the cards.
“Since I am responsible for distributing the valentines, I get the pleasure of seeing first-hand how far a little kindness from a stranger goes,” Clark said. “I love going to the nursing homes and seeing smiles on the faces of the residents when I deliver their Valentines.”
This year, children aren’t the only ones who are making cards.
Sharon Sweeney of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 4009 Hart St. said she took some templates from the library so her women’s group could make cards.
“I saw pamphlets at the library on it and we have sent things to the troops before,” Sweeney said. “We have such a giving bunch of women and i thought it would be a fun thing for us to do.”
She said some of the 30 cards she took for her church have already been distributed to church shut-in to decorate, giving them a church project to participate in. The other women will get together next week to make use of the “embellishments, markers and glitter” Sweeney purchased to make the cards. She said she believes all the participants will enjoy it.
“We’re all children at heart, aren’t we?” she asked.
Supplies for Hands That Touch a Heart are available at the main, Catlettsburg and Kyova branches of the Boyd County Public Library through Feb. 7. Teachers or leaders of groups wishing to participate should email Amanda Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (606) 329-0518, ext. 1140.
LEE WARD can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2661.