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Creative hearts: Valley preschool kids make Valentines for Children’s Hospital patients

By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
February 14, 2013 · 3:57 PM
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/ Carol Ladwig/Staff Photo

At a table littered with glittery, puffy, colorful stickers, Carter Benolkin, 5,  was hard at work on his masterpiece.

“My card is really cool,” he says, displaying the Valentine he’s still perfecting.

Down at the end, 4-year-old Gracie Heath is equally intent on her card, selecting just the right sticker, whether it’s on the sheet in front of her, or one that her fellow preschool participant, Lauren Benolkin, finds for her across the table. Heath is on her second or third Valentine, working on a stack that her mom, Jennifer, planned to deliver to some very special recipients.

“She’s had four heart surgeries,” Jennifer said of Gracie, “so, we’re making these for the children who’ve had heart surgery at Children’s Hospital.”

“Our goal is 50,” says Maria Nutter, coordinator of the Snoqualmie Valley School District preschool program, which organized the potluck on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The district-run preschool hosts three of these potlucks each year, Nutter said. “It’s an opportunity for the parents to get to meet each other.”

And for the children to play together in the gym, and do something thoughtful for others.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District provides eight half-day sessions of preschool, four for children as young as 3, and four for pre-Kindergarten students. Snoqualmie Elementary School hosts the very young children, while Opstad Elementary hosts the older group.

Ellie Callahan, right, and Carter Benolkin get creative with their Valentine cards Tuesday night at a potluck event for families in the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s preschool program. Students were invited to make Valentines for patients at Children’s Hospital.

The collection of hand-made Valentines grew throughout the evening of the daycare program’s potluck event.

Preschool coordinator Maria Nutter, left, admires a student’s card with Jennifer Heath, while behind them student Lauren Benolkin, left, hands her classmate Gracie Heath, a special heart sticker.

Addy Miller, left, and her friend Riley, work together on a Valentine.

Cole Green proudly displays the Valentine he made Tuesday, to his parents, Tad and Pam Green, of Fall City. The family, including sister Findlay, shared a potluck with other school district preschool families, and the children were invited to make their own creative Valentines for patients at Children’s Hospital.

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