Valentine’s Day has various meanings for various ages. Young children spend days making their own mailboxes and celebrate the day by handing out candy and cards to every member of the classroom. Teens have an entirely different view of the day. Some might have a more mature understanding of romance and relationships, while others are still uncomfortable sharing their feelings.
Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve
This project takes some planning and preparation. First, the students need to choose a charity for the money that's raised. In keeping with the heart theme, they can choose a national or local heart association or a local cardiac center. Students can also cut out the hearts and attach small safety pins to each one. In the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day, set up a table in the cafeteria or other heavily traveled area of the school. At the table, students purchase small paper hearts for friends or love interests. The student can write a sentiment, or send an anonymous gift. On Valentine's Day, student volunteers travel from class to class delivering the hearts. Students can pin the paper hearts to their clothes as they accept the love of their friends.
Mugs of Love
This activity helps students think about those in the community who are less fortunate. In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, ask students, parents and teachers to donate coffee mugs. They could have advertising, funny sayings or nothing at all on the side. At the same time, parents, teachers and students hold a travel-size toiletry drive. This is an opportunity to clean out all those hotel-sized soap and shampoo that accumulate. Students can also bring in small treats such as small candies, tea bags or gum. A week before Valentine’s Day, student volunteers line up the mugs and fill them with the donated items, placing toiletries and comfort items in each mug. The day before Valentine’s Day, student volunteers deliver the mugs to a homeless shelter and those who are often forgotten receive a needed gift on a special day.
New Kissing Booth
With today’s emphasis on hygiene and sexual harassment, an old-fashioned kissing booth just isn’t an option. A new twist on an old idea, the new kissing booth, uses paper “kisses” that serve as votes for the best kisser in school. Students buy a paper kiss for a small fee and the girl and boy with the most votes at the end of the week are crowned King and Queen of Kissing. Another alternative to the kissing booth is to sell chocolate kisses in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Students can write a sentiment, sign their name or make an anonymous gift with a small paper tag that is taped to the candy. On Valentine’s Day, student volunteers deliver the chocolate around the school. Both can be used as fundraisers for school or community activities.
White Ribbon Week
Romance has its perils. A Georgia school uses the week of Valentine’s Day to share the physical and emotional risks of young people engaging in sexual activity without caution. Each day of the week is dedicated to a specific topic such as date rape, AIDS, sexually transmitted decease, teenage pregnancy and healthy relationships. The school invites speakers from the Health Department and other local agencies to speak to the students. Place several boxes in high traffic areas where students can leave questions they might be too embarrassed to ask in public.
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