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C.O. after-school buddies share Valentine’s love


During this cold winter, it helps to have a warm heart — and better yet, to share one (or two).

A local program called After-School Buddies has some big hearts among its members. The program, made up of elementary school girls partnered with high school-aged big buddies, had a special activity Thursday afternoon at Bend’s Juniper Elementary School.

Each of the girls made a box filled with goodies to give to cancer patients and their caretakers. They also made paper heart links.

“I don’t know who it’s going to go to, but I hope it makes somebody happy,” said one of the girls.

We asked why this activity was important to them.

“People who have cancer sometimes feel pretty down, and Valentine’s (Day) is the best time to give a present to them,” said one.

“It’s just a great way to give back for all the things that we take,” said another young girl.

“When you’re really sick or hurt, it’s nice to know that somebody cares about you,” said one of the big buddies. “Even if you don’t know the person, it’s just nice to know that someone’s there.”

Another big buddy shared, “My grandfather had cancer, so I feel like this is also a part that’s hard for me. So I feel like also it would be really helpful for the caretakers and their family members to know that somebody else cares.”

The responses mirrored the overarching goal of the After-School Buddies program.

“Our motto for After-School Buddies is to love others as we have been loved,” program director Charlene Schulz said. “This seemed a perfect time, Valentine’s, to share that love.”

Before I left, a final message from a little buddy —

“Always help your community and be nice to everyone.”

If you want to learn more about or join the After School Buddies program, you can visit their website:

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