SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii Aca,!" Family members of deployed Soldiers showed off their hearts at the Sgt. Yano Library, here, recently, for the free Create-a-Card Program.

More than 25 family members filled the conference room to create handmade cards for Valentine's Day. Numerous items lined several tables to ignite cardmakers' creativity, including paper hearts, stickers, stamps, stationery and envelopes.

Kaylani Marshall, 7, chose a purple marker and began to write her father a letter inside her decorated card.

"I want him to know I'm thinking about him," said Marshall. "And that he is my best friend.

"I put a lot of work into the card," she continued, "and a lot of love."

Kaylani's mother, Kara Marshall, explained this deployment was the family's first.

"They aren't used to being away from their father," Kara said of Kaylani and her 4-year-old brother Xavier. "This is a way for us to do something fun that keeps us together as a family."

Kids laughed as they painted and drew on cards themselves, covering the tables and walls with their works of art. Rubber stamps hopped across envelopes, and no card went unglittered.

The library offers many programs for military ohana to enjoy and stay connected as a family, including a Young Readers Club, Teen Reading Week, Storytime and numerous after-school programs.

In addition, the Books by You Program gives children the opportunity to create a novel, complete with illustrations and a personalized cover.

The Create-a-Card Program allows family members to create a card for a special occasion, including Father's Day, Christmas and Valentine's Day.

"We want to provide a positive experience for our families," said Janet Howard, public services librarian, Sgt. Yano Library. "(To) keep them excited as a family and offer an outlet for communication."

Brothers and sisters worked together, helping each other glue decorations on cards, and mothers aided children through the writing process.

"I did it," screeched 4-year-old Alexia Freitas as she successfully wrote the letter "D" for daddy on her card.

Alexia's mom, Billie Freitas, smiled.

"She's just learning to write," explained Billie, "and now she will show daddy her new skill."

The young writer then completed the word with help from mom and began coloring.
Through the Create-a-Card Program, family members expressed gratitude to their deployed loved ones with plenty of time to spare before Valentine's Day.

"We love doing programs like this for children and adults," said Howard. "We provide the supplies; you provide the creativity."

Another Create-a-Card Program will be held for Father's Day, May 20, at the Sgt. Yano Library. For more information on the Create-a-Card Program or other library
programs, call (808) 655-8002.

Page last updated Fri February 6th, 2009 at 14:07