ValenTAN’s Day helps Lurie Children’s Hospital


Nina Shearrill, Business Manager

As Valentine’s day comes around, many people are focused on planning a date with their significant other, a night out with friends or just staying home watching Netflix. No matter what those plans are, we all find ways to enjoy the holiday of love. LT Teacher Sylvia Tanious is trying to extend that happiness to some that may not be able to enjoy the holiday in the same way.

“Some of our fondest memories are from first and second grade and they have their little bag [of valentine’s cards],” Tanious said. “It’s nice that hospitals realize that these kids miss out on that opportunity.”

For the last three years, Tanious has encouraged her students to send electronic Valentine’s Day cards to patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago through a program called ‘Handfuls of Love.’ She wants the children to experience the holiday in a similar way to their peers.

“It makes them think of Valentine’s day as more than a romantic holiday,” she said. “I just hope [the cards] allow them to get a chance to be a kid and celebrate like other kids.”

Lurie Children’s Hospital treats all types of kids with various reasons for being there. Some of their illnesses prevent them from being able to leave the hospital, go to school, or interact with their peers: making them unable to experience events people their age might experience.

“Their goal is 15,000 cards,” she said. “I used to volunteer there and the hospital wants to ensure that every kid gets at least one card.”

Every year during the Friday of the All-School Assembly, where class periods are much shorter, she tells her students to hop onto a computer and make a card.

“You go online and you can choose from one of the card templates, send it [and] they will print them out and deliver them,” Tanious said.

The process is fully electronic and allows every person to send a typed message of their choice.

“[The students] type their message and put in a joke to make the kids laugh,” she said.

All five periods of her classes had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.

“It’s a good way to interact with the kids and show them that you care,” Mikayla Kist ‘19 said.

Some expressed how they hope the children will feel when receiving the cards.

“I think it would make them happy,” Maeve Hamor ‘20 said. “It lets them know people are thinking of them.”

Before Tanious introduced her students to the website, they had not known of it and had not been using it. Once they had started, they wondered where this program was before.

“It would be a fun thing to do in other classes,” Matthew Korallus ‘19 said. “It feels good knowing I could help.”

Link to Handfuls of Love Valentine’s Day cards: