Posted: March 9, 2023
Valentine’s Day often includes cards, but this year, neighbors at Holly Creek Life Plan in Centennial and students at Thomas Jefferson High School celebrated the day with special notes of cheer and encouragement.
On Jan. 13, Holly Creek resident Jim Hankins organized and delivered more than letters to the front desk for his neighbors. The letters, some handwritten, some type-written with messages, were penned by members of the high school’s Interact Club.
The Valentine’s Day notes ranged from a simple sentence to detailed paragraphs sharing about the students’ lives, but all wished their recipients a Valentine’s Day “filled with love and laughter.” The response has once again been overwhelmingly positive, with many Holly Creek residents sending personal cards and notes in return.
Hankins has been a part of the DTC Rotary for six years, where he became the rotary liaison for the Interact Club, a service organization for students that instills leadership skills and the value of “service above self.”
“Our hope is the Interactors develop personal integrity, demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others, and understand the value of individual responsibility and hard work,” Hankins said.
Hankins has met with the Interact Club every Monday for several years, where he helps them create and implement project ideas that will improve their communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person service opportunities were limited, so Hankins suggested that the group consider notes with his neighbors at Holly Creek. The idea sparked a series of note and letter exchanges, with more than 300 personalized Christmas cards from the club last December.
Hankins is grateful for the opportunity he’s had to encourage those in and outside his community through purchasing and organizing the card deliveries.
“I keep busy here at Holly Creek, but I definitely have a life in the wider community, too,” he said, and the Interact Club is a key way he’s found to give to the next generation. “I am amazed and impressed at the creativity, initiative and maturity often demonstrated by these teenagers. These young people are our future!”