Do you know what is even sweeter than a heart-shaped box of chocolates? Giving a Valentine to a child in the hospital.
Every year, ZonaZoo celebrates the day of love by making Valentine’s Day cards to give to patients in the Diamond Children’s Medical Center. This year, ZonaZoo is trying to beat the record for the most cards given to children in the hospital. The current record is 6,000 cards.
Natalie Goldstick, ZonaZoo associate executive director, said this year the goal is to reach 10,000 cards.
“Last year ZonaZoo decided that we wanted to set a record and someone suggested doing it under our former Community Outreach branch,” Goldstick said. “We already did visits to the Diamond Children’s Medical Center, so this was an easy addition to one of our visits.”
The center has up to 80 patients in the pediatric unit, according to Lori Mitts, senior manager of the Child Life Department.
“The UA students come visit patients as a group. They usually go room to room and bring cheer to the kids’ days,” Mitt said.
Whether students are official members of ZonaZoo or not, anyone is able to participate in the event by making Valentine's Day cards that can be homemade or store bought.
The only rule is that the cards must say "Happy Valentine’s Day" somewhere on the card and must be signed by an individual or group in order to count for beating the record, according to Goldstick.
“I think Zonazoo did a really amazing job of getting a wide spectrum of people to make cards,” said Matthew Rein, executive vice president of the ASUA. “I know that they're getting clubs and students to sign cards.”
Students can get involved by making cards and taking them to the ASUA office on third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center.
“I think that the beauty of it is that all of students across campus are writing these cards for kids who really, really love them,” Rein said.
RELATED: Project Sunshine shines at UA
The cards will be hand delivered by members of the ZonaZoo Crew on Valentine’s Day.
According to Mitts, having the ZonaZoo students deliver Valentine’s Day cards makes the patients happy because a lot of them miss their schools' Valentine’s Day parties.
“The kids aren’t able to celebrate out of the hospital,” Mitt said. “But now they are able to have a Valentine’s Day party with the ZonaZoo.”
Follow Leia Linn on Twitter