4-H clubs deliver Valentine love to seniors


By Blythe Alspaugh - balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com



Jayden Gaerke, 12, son of Jason and Judie Gaerke, of Russa, talks to Darla Bowling about his participation in 4-H. Jayden is a member of the Russia Livestock 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Jayden Gaerke, 12, son of Jason and Judie Gaerke, of Russa, talks to Darla Bowling about his participation in 4-H. Jayden is a member of the Russia Livestock 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News


Miranda Hoying, 10, daughter of Greg and Amy Hoying, of Anna, helps sort Valentines cards into bags, to be delivered to area senior living homes. Miranda is a member of the McCartyville Producers 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News


SIDNEY — Alvetro Orthodontics is working with local 4-H clubs for the third year in a row to deliver handcrafted Valentines to residents of local assisted living facilities in Shelby County.

Last year, 4-H clubs, along with patients of Alvetro Orthodontics, created over 1,500 hand-made cards. This year that number has more than doubled, totaling nearly 3,500 Valentines created by 16 4-H clubs, Alvetro patients, and the Fort Loramie Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club.

“I just think it’s really amazing how the 4-H kids have stepped up, and our patients participate,” Dr. Lisa Alvetro, owner of Alvetro Orthodontics, said. “It’s also a nice time to go visit, because everyone goes at Christmas, and it’s nice to see some of the little things we give them. It’s fun, too, when the kids can come and help, because they all enjoy seeing kids. It’s amazing, how much it has grown.”

The first year of the program, Starting Farmers was the winner. Last year, Merry Mod Makers won with 333 handcrafted Valentines cards.

The program starts at the end of November, giving the clubs time to pool their resources and craft their Valentines, with a deadline of Thursday, Feb. 6, to turn them in. In the past, the club that provides the most hand-crafted Valentines was awarded a pizza party. This year, in addition to a pizza party, Alvetro will donate $250 to a local charity of the club’s choosing. The Valentines will be delivered by Alvetro Orthodontics and the 4-H clubs on Feb. 11, 12, and 13 to Fairhaven, Landings of Sidney and Ohio Living Dorothy Love.

Along with this, Alvetro hosted an “Alvetro’s Got Talent” contest and among participants who submitted videos of their talents, awarded them prizes. They will be providing entertainment to the seniors during the Valentine deliveries.

“It keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m not sure where we’ll go from here, but it’s a very cool thing,” Darla Bowling, clinical coordinator for Alvetro Orthodontics, said.

The inspiration for the program came to Bowling from a desire to bridge the gap between the youth and the seniors of Shelby County. Her background in 4-H led her to contact Cassie Dietrich, Shelby County 4-H youth development educator, to see if the 4-H clubs in Shelby County would be interested in participating.

“I think more clubs have found out about it. The first year, we sent out an email to all the different advisers, and I don’t think people really knew what was going on. The second year, it got a little bit bigger, and then this last year, everybody really got involved,” Judie Gaerke, Shelby County 4-H Extension Office associate, said. “The youth really want to give back to the community, but there’s so limited opportunities for them in a safe situation. Part of our 4-H program is community involvement, so this gives us an outlet for us to be able to help out. When Dr. Alvetro and their staff reached out to us, it’s just a fantastic blend, in my opinion.”

According to Bowling, the key thing that Alvetro was aiming for when creating the program was creating more smiles in the community.

“We’re all about smiles. We’re creating them with the 4-H groups because they’re seeing what happens with their accomplishments and hard work, and they’re seeing them bring smiles to other people,” Bowling said. “I think people need to be reminded that there are rewards for service. They might not get them right away, but the reward is going to be there.”

Jayden Gaerke, 12, son of Jason and Judie Gaerke, of Russa, talks to Darla Bowling about his participation in 4-H. Jayden is a member of the Russia Livestock 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2020/02/web1_SDN021120GARKE_J1.jpgJayden Gaerke, 12, son of Jason and Judie Gaerke, of Russa, talks to Darla Bowling about his participation in 4-H. Jayden is a member of the Russia Livestock 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Miranda Hoying, 10, daughter of Greg and Amy Hoying, of Anna, helps sort Valentines cards into bags, to be delivered to area senior living homes. Miranda is a member of the McCartyville Producers 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2020/02/web1_SDN021120HOYING_2.jpgMiranda Hoying, 10, daughter of Greg and Amy Hoying, of Anna, helps sort Valentines cards into bags, to be delivered to area senior living homes. Miranda is a member of the McCartyville Producers 4-H Club. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

By Blythe Alspaugh

balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.