A sweet Valentine’s Day project: honoring RTD and other frontline workers

The Valentine’s Day project began with a desire: to honor frontline workers throughout the community, the people who have continued to show up every day during the pandemic. From preschool through fifth grade, each group of students at Second Creek Elementary School in Commerce City chose different types of heroes on which they would focus. The 3- to 5-year-olds in Nicole Griffin’s class picked firefighters, police officers – and RTD bus drivers.

“The kids know these people,” said Griffin, a preschool teacher at the school. “If we say RTD, they know what we’re talking about.”

Second Creek Preschool Batch of Valentine's Day Cards
Handmade Valentine's Day cards from Second Creek Elementary School.

Over a single week during small-group time, the preschool students placed their painted palms on 500 cards, each providing “A Handful of LOVE” for the intended recipients. It was quite a project, Griffin said, as they had never completed such a volume of work before for a single purpose. The teacher said the sweet initiative was entirely the idea of her paraprofessional colleague Tara Plamowski.

Many of the cards were received by nearby Station 8 from South Adams County Fire District and a school resource officer. The students “saw that their presence made those people happy,” Griffin said. “They realized that their love could impact someone that they don’t know personally. I think that is very empowering for them.”

Second Creek Preschool Student making Valentine's Day Card
A Second Creek Elementary School student making a Valentine's Day card.

The cards intended for RTD were provided to Tim Lucero, general superintendent of street operations, and will be displayed for the agency’s employees to enjoy.

The Second Creek school community is tight-knit, Griffin said, and its staff over the last year has felt the love extended to them from parents. Turning that sentiment outward beyond the school, she said, has been an incredible feeling.

Students have discussed that “we have to reach out to our community to succeed,” Griffin said. “We need everyone.”

Second Creek Preschool Student making Valentine's Day Card using paint
A Second Creek Elementary School student using paint to make a Valentine's Day card.