Elephant’s Fork students share the love

Published 10:06 pm Friday, February 14, 2020

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Students at Elephants Fork Elementary School have been spreading all sorts of positivity this Valentine’s Day week, and the school once again partnered with the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office to share that love with residents at the Autumn Care of Suffolk nursing home on Friday.

Elephant’s Fork faculty have been getting “extra hugs” this week from the students, Principal Jessica Avery said, and students have been buying $1 “Shout Outs” to write grateful message to their favorite teachers, as well as their friends. These messages are read over the intercom and raise money for the Suffolk Education Foundation, Avery said.

“It’s just a way of showing love,” Avery said Friday morning. “From the kids, we always have their excitement, but in particular this is just the week of love, and they’ve really been expressing it.”

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The students wrote their own positive thoughts on 118 handmade Valentine’s Day cards for the Autumn Care residents. They showed the residents that they are loved and decorated their kindly worded cards with drawings of hearts and smiley faces.

“It shows that they care about others, that they take the time to try to pick others’ spirits up,” said Sheriff E.C. Harris. “That’s what I think what we were put on earth here to do.”

This is the sixth year that the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office has collaborated with Elephant’s Fork Elementary School to make Valentine’s Day cards for Autumn Care. This is a year-round partnership, and the Sheriff’s Office also delivers the students’ handmade Father’s Day and Mother’s Day cards to Autumn Care.

“The Sheriff’s Office is one of our most dedicated volunteers,” said Tameika Cross, activities director at Autumn Care of Suffolk. “They never miss a holiday, and we look forward to celebrating with them on a regular basis.”

The effort helps brighten the spirits of Autumn Care residents who may not get regular visitors, according to Harris. Residents smiled wide when they saw the students’ Valentine’s Day cards on Friday morning.

“From what I see, it just brightens their day, and anything we can do to brighten someone’s day is very important,” Harris said. “That’s why I’m a firm believer of going in our nursing homes here in the city and trying to do something to make them have a better day.”

The holiday project is also a valuable lesson for the students of Elephant’s Fork Elementary School to learn how they can make a difference in the Suffolk community — no matter what time of year it is.

“It’s all for our kids to be able to explore how much they can impact the world outside of Elephant’s Fork,” Principal Avery said. “We try to teach kindness and love throughout the year, not just this week, and I think this is just a really good way with the residents — like (Sheriff Harris) said — to just show that other people are thinking about them at Autumn Care, and they’re not alone. I want our kids to realize the impact that they have on others.”