In Snohomish, Emerson Elementary School third-grade teacher Kim Moritz looks at and compliments a Valentine’s Day card made by Destiny Hawes, 8, while other students, including Evan Jackson, 9, (front) and Austin Drake, 8, (left) work to finish their own cards to place in “Buddy Bags” to give to people living in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

In Snohomish, Emerson Elementary School third-grade teacher Kim Moritz looks at and compliments a Valentine’s Day card made by Destiny Hawes, 8, while other students, including Evan Jackson, 9, (front) and Austin Drake, 8, (left) work to finish their own cards to place in “Buddy Bags” to give to people living in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Nearby third-graders send a valentine to a nursing home

Emerson Elementary students filled “Buddy Bags” with gifts for seniors they frequently visit.

SNOHOMISH — Third-graders at Emerson Elementary plan to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating with friends at a Snohomish nursing home.

The kids are frequent visitors there. For the past eight years, third-grade classes have read to guests staying at the Snohomish Health and Rehabilitation Center. This year, students wanted to give them something special for the holiday.

They pulled together what they have dubbed “Buddy Bags.”

Students filled red bags with flannel blankets, no-slip socks, hand-colored bookmarks and puzzle books. They recorded each other reading stories, so that guests at the center won’t have to wait for the weekly visit. They can listen any time on a CD.

Emerson Elementary third-grader Roxy Deakin, 8, contemplates where she might place a shiny star and on a Valentine’s Day card that she is making to put in a Buddy Bag to give people in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Emerson Elementary third-grader Roxy Deakin, 8, contemplates where she might place a shiny star and on a Valentine’s Day card that she is making to put in a Buddy Bag to give people in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

“I think it’s important the kids know they can make a difference at 8 and 9 years old,” Emerson Elementary teacher Kim Moritz said.

Tulsa Barton, 9, decorated a card that he tucked inside his bag. On the inside of the letter, he wrote: “You are loved still and forever.”

Tulsa was nervous the first time he visited the center. He wasn’t so sure about reading to people he didn’t know.

He practices every night before bed. He is currently reading a book from the series “Knights of the Lunch Table.” It is a tale about a new boy at school who finds a locker that has never been opened before.

“He opened it and he rules the school,” Tulsa said.

Emerson Elementary School third-graders Gavin Walcott (nearest) and Curtis Walker (near right) place gifts in Buddy Bags that they will give to people living in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Emerson Elementary School third-graders Gavin Walcott (nearest) and Curtis Walker (near right) place gifts in Buddy Bags that they will give to people living in a local nursing home. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

He reads to the same woman at the center. Every time, she welcomes him with a hug.

Dayna Sturm, 9, meets as many people as she can during her visits. She reads from her favorite picture book about a hungry fox and a duck.

“Some like to listen, some like to sleep,” Dayna said. “They sleep but they’re listening.”

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

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