Brandon, FL – Brandon Regional Hospital’s patients were particularly surprised on Valentine’s Day when they received a special treat on their dinner trays. Each patient received a handmade Valentine from one of the Brooker Elementary School students. According to art teacher, Kim Padron, all grades were involved from pre-K through the fifth grade. “Every class I saw this week was involved,” she said. That totaled about 500 children producing about 500 Valentines.
The week prior to Valentine’s Day, each class spent their 30 minutes of art putting them together; after a brief discussion about what art and Valentine’s Day had in common. According to Ms. Padron, in the art curriculum there are standards that address community art, collaboration in art, art that involves the community and has use, etc. Older students in the school also discussed how an artist designs Valentine cards and as a possible profession that they can consider as an artist. All the children discussed how it would feel to be in the hospital on a holiday without friends or family and agreed that they would feel bad and that this was a nice way to boost someone’s spirits.
“I started this tradition five years ago when I was a lead teacher in a North Carolina school magnet program,” said Ms. Padron. “Our program required that we have a community service aspect in each grade level. Since working with that first hospital in Raleigh and having such a strong, positive response to it, I have always tried to make it part of any program I’ve been involved with,” she added.
Ms. Padron recalls that when she was in Raleigh an older gentleman called her principal one year and had been so busy caring for his ailing wife they had forgotten all about the holiday. He said it made her cry (in a happy way) when she received a Valentine and he would never forget how grateful he was for that simple card. Ms. Padron added that she would never forget how grateful he was for that simple card.
Attached photo: Kim Padron, Brooker Elementary teacher, presents Valentines to Brandon Regional Hospital Food & Nutrition Services Department. Left to right: Chef Osvaldo Gonzalez; Director of FANS Henry Wiens; Brooker Elementary Teacher Kim Padron; VP of Quality Leslie Hayes; Chief Nursing Officer Chris Taramasco