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Valley Vista Elementary Students Send "Paper Hugs" and Care Packages to Troops
Valley Vista Elementary Students Send "Paper Hugs" and Care Packages to Troops On Wednesday, February 17, Valley Vista Elementary students and PTA parents put together care packages with “paper hugs” to send to those serving in the military.

Students were inspired to take on this project through a book they had been reading called “Paper Hugs.” The story is about a little boy whose dad is being deployed and he wants to give his dad something to take with him. He decides to trace his hands on construction paper, cut them out and attach them using a piece of string that equaled the distance of his wing span which he then calls a “paper hug.” Each Valley Vista student made a paper hug for the troops, but felt they needed to send something more. As a result, a drive was held to collect items that could be used to put together care packages. By the end of the drive students had collected just under 1,000 pounds of toiletries, snacks and necessity items. One student even brought in cases of toothpaste from their dentist’s office and another brought in cases of saline bottles they had collected from their eye doctor. Local merchants heard about the drive and donated cases of hand lotions, laundry detergent, condiments, four cases of sunglasses and other items.

With the help of the Veteran’s Liaison for the City of North Royalton, students and PTA parents were directed in how to go about packaging up all of the donations so the packages can fill the individual needs of the service men and women.

“At Valley Vista we feel it is important to teach our students that together you can make a difference for the people in the world around you,” said Valley Vista Principal Jeff Hill. “If we encourage these students to practice kindness and work to spread it wherever they go, the possibilities are endless.”

This is not the first time Valley Vista has reached out to the veterans. Every year the students honor local veterans and family members who have served in a Veteran’s Day program and reception. In 2014, a few teachers had their students make Christmas cards and goodie bags to send to an Air Force base in Afghanistan. Just last year, there was a school-wide Skype session with a former Valley Vista student who is now a Marine.