RAYMOND — Already known for their compassion and dedication to the community, students at Raymond-Knowles Union Elementary School (RKS) are frequently hard at work on service hours required in order to graduate.
Among other boxes they need to check off in order to depart with honors from the K-8 school, some 45 hours of community service are banked over the course of 7th through 8th grades.
Jianna Winburn is an 8th-grade student in Mrs. Michelle Stevenson’s class, who recently completed a deeply heartwarming act of kindness called “The Widow Project.”
Jianna partnered with her older sister Janae, who sells jewelry, creating a plan so people could order a very special Valentine for a widow in their life. Jianna handmade cards, no two alike, and added a piece of inspirational Paparazzi Accessories jewelry to send to a widow for Valentine’s Day.
“My sister is a widow, and over the past few years she has met many others,” explains Jianna. “She asked me if the idea to make them Valentines was a good idea, and I was on-board immediately. I know that if she got a Valentine with jewelry and a nice card in with it, she would be beyond happy, and I wanted others to feel that way. I know the struggles of grief, and no one should be lonely on Valentine’s Day.”
Each Valentine cost only $7, which covered the wholesale price of the jewelry along with shipping to their personal address, with the handmade card. Jianna reached out to the community directly and via social media to obtain orders, says RKS Principal Michelle Townsend. In the end, Jianna sent Valentines out to brighten the day of 25 local widows, hoping to offer love and encouragement.
“The whole time I was making the cards, I kept thinking about all the different things we could do with the supplies we had. I wanted each one to be thought out and unique, and full of all the care and love I would want if I was in their shoes. They didn’t deserve to lose the person they loved most. It’s a cool way of saying ‘You’re not alone. You’re loved.'”
Principal Townsend sums it up: “We have great kids.”