Last year in August, students at Santa Clara High School’s chapter of FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) gathered to talk, under the guidance of Kathy Hopp, the organization’s faculty adviser.
“We were discussing different ways we could get more involved with our chapter,” said Emily Le, 16, chapter secretary. “We figured a community service project would be a good way to reach out to others. We found a website that offers opportunities to write to elders. But it was in another state. So, Ms. Hopp brought up the idea of writing mostly within our community instead. And that’s how ‘Sincerely, FCCLA’ started. We make sure that everyone who participates gets their community service hours.”
Participating members of “Sincerely, FCCLA” have been writing notes and letters and assembling crafts, such as ornaments, origami and bookmarks.
“We generally ask FCCLA members working on crafts to keep the crafts generally flat to keep in an envelope,” Le said. “We put a letter with the craft into the envelope. At Brookdale Senior Living in San Jose, we are able to drive over to the location and drop off the letters and crafts. Other locations, we mail to, such as in San Francisco or Claremont in Southern California, or Columbia in Missouri. Our group currently writes to 10 specific elders.”
In February, the group intends to send seven letters to seniors for Valentine’s Day.
“For Valentine’s Day, we have paper doilies, the lace ones, and we’re planning to write little poems on them,” Le said. “We’re also planning to send Valentine-themed recipes.”
Bijou Lee, 15, chapter reporter, plans to share a short and sweet poem, perhaps a verse by Dr. Seuss for her Valentine’s Day note.
“I always associate cookies with Valentine’s Day,” Lee said. “Ever since I was super young I bought or made sugar cookies shaped like hearts for Valentine’s Day. When I make these cookies, I try a new recipe each time. The recipe I am sharing will be a new recipe as well.”
“Valentine’s Day is about being with someone you love and having companionship,” Lee continued. “Because of COVID-19, many elders have lost that companionship because of social distancing from relatives. By receiving these cards, they can feel that someone knows that what they are going though is hard.”
“We will decorate the letters with Valentine’s Day stickers,” said Kyla Tadina, 16, chapter historian. “I think it’s especially important to think about elders for Valentine’s Day. When people think of Valentine’s Day, they usually think of young couples celebrating this day with each other. But I also think it’s important for elders to be able to celebrate this day and be thought of as well.”
“We began planning for this project at the beginning of the school year,” Tadina continued. “But we began working on this in October. We’re planning to carry out ‘Sincerely, FCCLA’ through the end of the school year.”