Valentine's Day is more special when someone sends you a valentine.
A group of local students gathered at Bethesda United Methodist Church, in Sykesville, on Feb. 7 to make sure local nursing home and assisted-living residents received hand-decorated cards for this holiday.
From 7 to 9 p.m., 13 students worked with stickers, markers, glitter, heart-shaped doilies and construction paper, taking a break only for a snack. Church volunteers provided a memo board with hints and suggestions for putting together the cards.
"The students were creative, inventive -- they wrote some personal notes on the cards telling a little about themselves, their pets and their schools," church volunteer Linda Joyave said.
All of that special effort paid off: The student volunteers created 185 Valentine's Day cards.
The church has been offering this type of activity for students since December. "One of the ladies in the church, back around November, suggested we offer chances for students to earn service-learning hours for graduation," Joyave said.
Maryland public school students are required to earn 75 service-learning hours during their middle and high school years, as a graduation requirement. "Parents have been asking about when we'll schedule another event," Joyave said.
One of the student volunteers, Sophia Patton, a freshman at Liberty High School, already has more than 300 service-learning hours, but still helped make the valentines.
"It's my grandma's church and it's very special to me, so I wanted to give back and help out," Patton said. "My other grandmother recently passed away, and I was visiting her in the nursing home over the holidays, and I saw how residents had no cards or visitors."
The church volunteers plan to offer one service-learning activity each month, which will be open to students from all over the area. As each event is planned and scheduled, it will be posted on the Carroll County Times community calendar.
For information about future service-learning events at the church, call Beverly Smith at 410-795-1286.
Bethesda United Methodist Church is at 328 N. Klee Mill Road.