Let’s Reclaim Valentine’s Day For Good

If you’re like me, when you think about Valentine’s Day it’s a little bit like, ugh that’s a Hallmark holiday and it’s not even a real thing. Apologies for anyone that really loves it. Don’t get me wrong, I love love! So it’s always bothered me a little bit that this perfectly good day is focused on forced romanticism.

So I decided to do something about it.

Here in Pittsburgh, I work at a refugee resettlement agency, go to graduate school student studying public policy and am a new mom. I have a full plate! But my life got even crazier over the past month since the inauguration when the world I live in (supporting and helping refugees) was pushed into the media by the President’s ban on refugees, attack on women and discriminatory policies targeting Muslims and People of Color. Some of our new refugee families are scared and many have small children. Many children face discrimination, feel isolated and alone including immigrant children, anyone whose parent is incarcerated, children in the foster care system and many other kids who could use extra love and attention.

I wanted to find a way to tell newly resettled refugees, immigrants and children in need that many Pittsburghers support them, that they are welcome here, they are loved and they are wanted.

So I created a FREE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY event where all Pittsburghers are invited to make Valentine’s Day cards. All Valentine’s made at the event will be distributed by me (and some of my friends) to nonprofits around the city who work with kids. I have been talking to groups including the Pittsburgh Public Schools ESL programs, local refugee resettlement agencies, the Islamic Center, Kingsley Association, the Latino community and Homewood community organizations.

This has come together in just a few days! The event space was donated. I want to have free crafting supplies on site, coffee and breakfast items. I’ve arranged to have artists, art teachers and crafty people on-site to help anyone who is less than crafty. Being good at card-making is not a pre-requisite! (I should know, my card skills are on-par for a third-grader and that might be insulting their talent). For any babies and kids too young for crafts there will be a play area, story-time and a sing-along area.

I’m also working hard on having refugee, immigrant and underserved families at the event so people from all communities can interact and create relationships. Working at a refugee resettlement agency, people ask me EVERY DAY how they can help and this is a great opportunity to meet some new neighbors.

Here is my ask! Help make this event a success. Our goal is to make 250 cards to give out to children in Pittsburgh.

  1. Attend. The event space is brand new! You’ll love it. Plus meet new neighbors and see friends. All ages are welcome and we’ll have activities for different age groups. http://bit.ly/pghkids2017
  2. We are looking for more volunteers. People to help with media outreach. Looking for more in-kind donations, people to help putting up fliers, a day-of photographer and more. If you know anyone interested, have them email me or better yet fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/qvZVyuYBnWTDA7BV2
  3. We are collecting donations. This helps 100% with items used to support the event. This is a 100% volunteer effort. Some of you have asked about how to make a donation, you can do that here or please share: https://www.gofundme.com/helppghkids
  4. Social Media. If you’re so inclined, here are a few suggested posts/tweets:

Excited to be part of the movement to make #ValentinesDayForGood! Join me on 2/11: http://bit.ly/pghkids2017

Great community event coming up to help support refugees in Pittsburgh on 2/11: http://bit.ly/pghkids2017 #ValentinesDayForGood

Details:

Date: Saturday February 11th
Where: The Shop, 621 N Dallas Ave (btwn Formosa and Kelly)

Street Parking and Closest Bus Stops: 
71D (Hamilton and Dallas)
P1, 86 and 88 all nearby

Thank you Army of Lovers for the inspiration!!

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