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E.V. Cain students share cards, smiles with senior valentines

Builders Club visits Auburn Ravine Terrace bearing gifts of love
By: Andrew Westrope, Staff Writer
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Five E.V. Cain Charter Middle School students donated about 50 handmade valentine cards and the end of an afternoon to residents at Auburn Ravine Terrace on Wednesday, and found the gift of good company goes both ways.

For the eighth year in a row, E.V. Cain faculty advisor Woody Hoffmann brought a handful of students from the Builders Club to the senior living facility on Wednesday as a token of charity for Valentine’s Day. The students filed from room to room in the skilled nursing facility, sharing smiles and colored paper with more than three dozen residents, and collectively agreed they would do it again.

“I just like passing all of the cards out and seeing all their faces light up, and I really enjoy that,” said Claire Breckenridge, back for the second year in a row. “They were all really nice, and one of them said to me, ‘I love you,’ so that was cute … It’s really easy to talk to them, because they’re just so open.”

Club president Sydney Haupt said even seriously impaired residents lit up at the sight of valentine visitors, and returning club member Kennedy Haswell agreed it’s all about seeing a friendly face.

“I don’t think they get to see their family very often, so I think handing out these (cards) can make them a lot happier,” she said.

Hoffmann said the students started making their cards in December and required minimal coaxing to make the trip, but the facility could only handle a small group.

“The kids love making valentines. In fact, we had two people join the club because they wanted to be part of that project,” he said. “The two that did it last year, when I asked for volunteers their hands were the first up, because they remembered the experience from last year.”

As a leadership organization sponsored by Kiwanis, the Builders Club is largely about caring and character-building, and club advisor Bob Tutton said the activity can be a poignant lesson.

“Occasionally we’ll have a valentine given to a gentleman or a lady, and they’ll start talking, and tears will come to your eyes, because they’re just so enthusiastic about receiving the card and appreciative of the young ladies and men that come to see them,” he said.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Hoffmann appreciated that the students had shared a little of their time, their art, themselves, and found it mutually rewarding. It was a lesson of love, and kindness unlooked-for.

“We’ve had a very overwhelming experience there, and the kids get to see the impact that these cards have on people,” he said. “If it was just hanging them up on a clip on the outside of the various rooms, it wouldn’t carry any of the benefit they have of seeing and hearing the appreciation from these people, many of whom don’t get visitors at all.”