Here's what we did:
1. I started off by contacting a hospital in our service area in September to see if they would like Valentine's if we collected or made them. They loved the idea and gave us a couple of guidelines to follow, such as not including messages like "get better" as some patients will not recuperate. They also gave us a deadline a couple of days before Valentine's Day, which was helpful in planning our programs and collection.
2. In October we planned how we would collect the Valentine's. We decided to run our program with 2 components:
- We wanted to collect Valentine's from the public at each of our locations. The staff at each location designed a Valentine's mailbox for people to put their Valentine's in.
- We planned programs where people could make Valentine's that would go to the hospital (there were 2 children's and 1 teen).
4. For some extra fun, I added glue sticks, crayons, stickers, and colored paper to each location's breakroom to encourage staff to participate too. While that response wasn't as big as I hoped, the people who participated had a great time.
5. In February we held our "Make a Valentine" program for 30 kids at our location. While not everyone showed up for the program, those that did used up all of the precut pieces to create Valentine's. These were all kids who like to do crafts. It made me think that next year, we can precut extra parts and have them sorted into piles on tables and the kids will love doing them.
6. The following Monday I dropped off 2 large boxes of Valentine's at our local hospital. It was fun seeing what everyone created (1 mom dropped off 60+ Valentine's that she and her children created!).
1. Alligator-we used the idea from here, but made a new pattern where we flattened out the alligator and made him out of construction paper. Our alligator ended up 7 pieces plus stickers (4 legs, body, top of the head, and inside of the mouth message).
2. Owl-we used the idea from here, but had to come up with our own teardrop pattern. The eyes are 1-inch white circles punched with a hole punch. We added the message as a sticker so everybody's would fit. We also left off the candy. The inside of the eyes are glittery heart stickers.
3. Elephant-we used the idea from here, but had to come up with our own heart patterns. We used large googly eyes and a sticker message. The hearts are a 1-inch heart punch.
How it went:
I think that this went great for our first year with this program. We collected 400 Valentine's across 3 locations, which I think that we can definitely increase for next year. We made a positive community connection with our local hospital and can continue that relationship in the future. This is definitely a program that we will do again next year!