Huntington parent Theresa Ehrman launched the PTA’s Grateful Hearts initiative many years ago when her son was at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. Now Charlie Ehrman is preparing to graduate in three months, but the letter writing campaign is still going strong at Huntington High School.
Described as an “inspiring and rewarding tradition” by fellow PTA members, the program first championed by Mrs. Ehrman’s has been embraced by the high school teenagers, who recently penned countless cards of thanks to those serving in America’s armed forces.
The letter writing event is staged annually around Valentine’s Day. Students create cards for military service men and women, thanking them for their commitment to keeping America safe. “This year the cards were sent to Afghanistan where they will be distributed to soldiers serving on active duty,” parent Debbie Chin said.
Huntington High School students embraced
the PTA's Grateful Hearts initiative.
PTA volunteers set-up a long row of six foot tables spanning the length of the cafeteria. Blank cards, markers, pens, stickers, stamps, ribbons and inspirational quotes were available to students interested in creating the cards. The teenagers enjoyed decorating and writing personal heart felt messages with gratitude to the troops for their service. They took pride in their artistic creations and their well-written notes of gratitude.
The activity was offered free of charge to all students during the school’s lunch periods. The PTA also brought supplies to the library where students were just as happy to participate in the rewarding activity.
“One student commented that when her uncle was in the military, receiving cards and letters really brightened his day and uplifted him,” Mrs. Chin said. “A few other students remarked that they really enjoyed writing letters and making cards because it made them feel like they were ‘making a difference’ and felt it was rewarding to ‘pay it forward.’”
More than 150 patriot-themed card were created with personal sentiments attached to each. A handful of bookmarks were also packaged and shipped overseas.
One Huntington senior mentioned that she has participated in the Grateful Hearts initiative each year since she was a Finley student six years ago. It’s in the spirit of that tradition that the PTA hopes to continue the program for many years to come.