AALS Celebrates with Volunteer Valentine Exchange
In celebration of both Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, United Way of South Hampton Roads’ African American Leadership Society (AALS) took on a labor of love.
In a valentine exchange facilitated by AALS, students wrote cards to senior citizens to show honor, love and appreciation to those in our community who’ve lived through many of the events they learn about during Black History Month. In return, seniors passed on words of wisdom, encouragement, and love to students at Norfolk and Chesapeake public schools.
In an overwhelming show of excitement, the following schools, senior centers and community partners stepped up to participate:
- Beth Sholom Village
- Blair Middle School
- Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism
- Hampton University
- Hickory Elementary School
- Jacox Elementary School
- London Oaks
- Norview Middle School
- Portsmouth Redevelopment & Housing Authority
- Portsmouth Senior Station
- PrimePlus Norfolk Senior Center
- Sentara PACE Norfolk
- Shea Terrace
- Signature Healthcare of Norfolk
- Suburban Elementary School
- Tidewater Arts Outreach
- W.H. Taylor Elementary School
- The Waterford at Virginia Beach
- Westminster Canterbury
United Way provided the special valentine for the students and seniors to personalize, which featured a quote from Mahatma Ghandi, “let us work together for unity and love.”
More than 20 volunteers provided the behind-the-scenes manpower to coordinate the exchange of over 2,000 valentines, which served as a bridge between generations.
And the stories of joy were endless:
- Another middle school student shared that she received a card from a senior at the same center where her grandmother used to live, bringing back fond memories of her loved one
- A senior without grandchildren or family in the area said reading the note gave her hope and made her feel less alone
On this day of love, it was a welcome reminder that sometimes the simplest things, like a handwritten note, mean the most.