Twenty students from the North High School Biomedical Science program made their second annual visit to the Valor Home of Akron. On Monday, February 13th, they presented over a dozen homemade “Jars of Inspiration” to the director of the Valor Home, Michael Semon, and some of the resident veterans. The clear plastic jars, decorated with American flags, contain words of thanks and inspiration, handwritten by more than 300 students. DaVyan Caldwell, an eleventh grade biomedical science student, organized the project again this year with two main goals in mind:
• To increase awareness among high school teenagers of our nation’s military veterans and their sacrifices, as well as some of the struggles our veterans face.
• To provide words of thanks and inspiration to our nation’s veterans, especially ones who are progressing to a more stable lifestyle.
The students explained to the veterans that there are 31 slips of paper in each jar, with each paper containing a handwritten sentiment by a North High School student. The intent is that a note could be pulled from the jar each morning to be read by a veteran to start their day with a note of gratitude and inspiration.
Various teachers at North volunteered to provide time during their classes to explain the project to students, as well as ask students to donate handwritten notes to the project. Jars of Inspiration has taken on special meaning at the school, as nearly half of all North High School students hail from refugee camps in southeast Asia and other parts of the world. Many of these students were especially eager to write words of thanks, some in broken English, to give to the men and women who indirectly helped them to lead new lives in this great nation.
In addition to bringing the Jars of Inspiration, the students and their instructor provided lunch to the Valor Home residents and staff, which included spaghetti and meatballs, along with various cultural dishes to sample. Students also enjoyed spending time with the veterans after lunch, who engaged in small activities such as teaching the residents how to play Sudoku, how to sew a button and make minor clothing repairs by hand, and teaching a few words of a new language.
Valor Home, a program of Family & Community Services, Inc. is a transitional housing program for homeless male veterans. The program, made possible by the generosity of Harry Donovan Jr., provides support services to residents both on-site and in the community. Family & Community Services, Inc. is one of the largest social service agencies in Northeast Ohio and has spent the past 75 years helping individuals of all ages. The agency covers 21 counties and has more than 71 programs. To learn more or to become involved, visit fcsserves.org or call 330-297-7027.