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Betty Gilbert students spread love with Valentine’s cards to Jackman Manor residents

More than 87 homemade cards were made to brighten up seniors’ day during the pandemic
Betty Gilbert Middle School students made Valentine’s Day cards for Jackman Manor residents. (Kristine Waddell/Special to The Star)

When Karen Long from the Langley Volunteer Bureau reached out to Kristine Waddell, a teacher at Betty Gilbert Middle School, about making Valentine’s Day cards for Jackman Manor residents, Waddell didn’t have to think twice about saying yes.

“Karen knew that we had made personalized Christmas cards for the residents for the past three years and she wanted to see if we would be interested in making Valentine’s Day cards as well,” Waddell explained. “We were fortunate enough to take some students to hand deliver the cards on two of those occasions.”

Waddell leads a community-oriented school group called The Raptors, who meet to gain skills in giving back and building local pride.

She said her class welcomed another opportunity to connect with these very important members of their community and let them know they continue to be in people’s thoughts.

“Sending some cheerful messages to the residents is a wonderful way for our students to demonstrate kindness beyond our school community,” Waddell explained. “Our Raptor Trait for the month of February is kindness.”

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She said Valentine’s Day is always a nice opportunity to let people know someone is thinking of them.

“This year, due to increased isolation from loved ones, it is even more important to ensure people know they are in our thoughts,” Waddell added. “We hope that this small gesture will bring some joy to the recipients.”

The students who prepared the cards were very happy to be able to participate – with some specifically choosing the residents that they remembered making the Christmas cards for.

“It was wonderful to witness the care they took to craft personalized messages as they took the responsibility of spreading some love to the residents very seriously,” Waddell said.

A few Grade 8 students reflected on their visit to Jackman Manor two years ago and the impact that experience had for both themselves and the residents.

In total, 87 Valentine’s Day cards were made by Betty Gilbert students and dropped off just in time for Feb. 14 by Long.

“We hope the residents enjoy receiving their cards and that they know they are in our thoughts during this difficult time,” Waddell said.

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Betty Gilbert Middle School students made Valentine’s Day cards for Jackman Manor residents. (Kristine Waddell/Special to The Star)