St. Bernard’s First Care and School Clinic has partnered with the Highland High School Student Council and area businesses to begin raising funds to host a Valentine’s Day luncheon for the Martin Center.

According to Crystal Shackelford, with St. Bernard’s First Care, students and members of the community will be selling carnations for $10 for Valentine’s Day to generate the funds. “We are working with the school and the Rose Trellis to make up small bouquets that will have a carnation for Valentine’s Day. The proceeds will be split between the Martin Center to provide their Valentine’s luncheon and the student council to help the kids with various projects,” Shackelford said.

When asked why the Martin Center was selected, Shackelford said the team at St. Bernard’s actively seeks opportunities to make a difference in the community, not only with healthcare but also to individuals and other organizations. “We wanted a Valentine. We chose the Martin Center to be our Valentine and we thought; what better way than to get with the Rose Trellis and do these small bouquets. For $10, someone can show their appreciation to a loved one and we can do something nice for the students and the people who go to the Martin Center,” Shackelford said.

The luncheon is slated to take place Feb. 12 and those who utilize the center will be treated to cake, punch and Subway. “The student council will be selling the carnations, also if someone comes to the clinic, we can put their name on the list here [at the clinic] or they can go to the Rose Trellis to order. Pre-orders are encouraged so enough flowers can be secured,” Shackelford said.

First founded by Virginia Martin, in the 1970s the center has served multiple purposes including an educational center for children until the 1990’s and now is used as a center-based program enabling adults with developmental challenges to learn or improve everyday skills.

According to Jill Finn, center program services director for the center,
“They can come from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and we provide developmental disability services that will help them in the community to take care of themselves. Possibly help them live out in the community, any kind of vocational training. We have people come in and teach them about safety, health, wellness, fitness, life skills in general,” Finn said. “With COVID, we can’t have people come in so we have been watching videos on the computer and have discussions about it.”

When asked how it felt to be selected as a valentine, Finn said it was a surprise and something that will be enjoyed by everyone at the center. “We’re very appreciative that people realize we are out here. I think sometimes they forget we’re here. There are children getting ready to graduate from high school that could benefit from our services. We’re still here,” Finn said.

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Lauren is a an award-winning journalist who decided after 10 years of newspaper experience to venture out. Hallmark Times was born.