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Columbia Missourian

Children pour hearts into Valentine's Day cards for veterans

By Manasa Vedula
February 3, 2010 | 7:44 p.m. CST
Rebekah Sobieck, 4, makes a Valentine's Day card at the Audrey Webb Child Study Center on Wednesday. Rebekah's preschool class made the cards for the Truman Veterans Hospital.

COLUMBIA — Isabel Fagre, 10, didn't have time to talk. A fat Crayola marker in hand, she was all business on Wednesday afternoon writing a Valentine's Day message to a veteran she'll probably never meet.

Isabel, a fourth-grader, and the other students in her multiage class at Stephens College Children's School, have been learning about veterans this year.

"They served in the war," Isabel said, barely looking up from the construction paper card she was making. On the short table were colorful supplies and a bowl of white glue.

For the first time, making cards for veterans is a schoolwide project. "Valentines for Veterans" is a program that started in 2000, said Melissa Freeman, a preschool teacher at the children's school. Freeman plans to mail them on Friday to program founder Barb Petner, who will distribute them to vets across the country in various facilities, such as nursing homes. Freeman estimates the children created around 100 cards.

"(Veterans) are around, and we need to support them," said Lindsey Riley, who teaches multiage classes, which range from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Four-year-old Lily Lough seemed blissful drawing her not-quite-heart-shaped hearts. "We love making Valentine's things because they are pretty," she said.

Lily's preschool class was joined by the older children from Riley's class.

"They love it when the multiage kids come over," preschool teacher Michelle Ostreich said.

Ostereich said they try to create a community between the two groups of children.

But perhaps the card-crafting session was best described by 10-year-old Isabel. When asked why she liked to make valentines, she looked up from her card and simply said, "It's fun."