Bringing our hearts to theirs: A Valentine's Day tale

A car ride to school is a great time to sing along to music, read a favorite book, or in the Smith sisters' case, make plans for creating Valentine's Day cards to deliver to those in the hospital or in hospice.

Three years ago, the girls' mom, Yvonne, told her daughters Rose and Lauren all about the Ronald McDonald House and the services they provide to patients and their families. Her daughters have been been delivering Valentine's Day cards and gifts to Ronald McDonald House at Stanford ever since.

This year, Almaden Country School third grader Rose Smith, with help from her family, is organizing a Valentine's Day card and gift drive right here on campus. "Rose loves helping people and takes special joy in helping those in need. I cannot be more proud of my children for their compassion and thoughtfulness," said her proud mom.

Since the early 1970's, the Ronald McDonald House has been providing services for families with children facing serious illness. Established in 1979, the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford creates a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatment at local hospitals. Previously, the facility accommodated up to 47 families; In May 2016, construction was completed on additional rooms/apartments, bringing the total capacity up to 123 family rooms -- making the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford one of the largest of the 338 Ronald McDonald Houses in the world.

Thanks to Rose's initiative, students at Almaden Country School are preparing extra Valentine's Day cards to send to the Ronald McDonald House. In addition, the Almaden Country School library hosted a card writing event on Tuesday, February 7 which is "National Send a Card to a Friend Day." Students and faculty were invited to decorate cards for families residing at Ronald McDonald House at the library on special hand-made Valentine's hearts and other dedicated stationery. Almaden Country School families are also encouraged to send small Valentine's Day gifts like pencils, erasers, hard candies, stickers, small activity kits, and so forth.

"I'm just really glad to be doing something to make another kid smile," said Rose. "The kids at the Ronald McDonald House -- their lives can be hard. They deserve to have fun!"

"Through her care and generosity of spirit, Rose is giving back to others who are not as fortunate as her," said head of school Dr. Olaf Jorgenson. "She is a living example of how one young person can make a big difference in the world around her."

All cards and gifts will be collected on Friday, February 10 by 1:30pm to be delivered the weekend preceding Valentine's Day. Thanks to the Smith family, we have this wonderful opportunity to share a little extra care to those who are far away from home.