Every Valentine's Day, parents dance through a ritual of buying cards, trinkets and treats for our kids to bring to school, send to their friends and, if we're lucky, their siblings.
But there's a way to make this year's Valentine's Day about something even bigger and more important for our kids: learning to help each other.
Save the Children's U.S. Programs is offering a set of Valentine's Day cards designed by kids in a nationwide art contest and chosen by kids through an online poll.
Funds raised from the cards support our literacy, early education and fitness and nutrition programs to help kids living in poverty in some of the most remote parts of the United States.
The five winning kids are aged 7 to 17 and from Hawaii to Kentucky. All five came to New York City last week to be honored at the Harriet Tubman School in Harlem by 20 other kids, Save the Children Vice Chair Cokie Roberts and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, which brought the art contest into classrooms across the nation as part of a lesson plan on childhood poverty.
That morning, I joined all five kids on the Today Show. Take a look:
So please buy your cards now at SaveTheChildren.org/Valentine!
This project proves that there are no better advocates for kids than kids themselves. In fact, the Valentine's Day cards were launched in conjunction with Save the Children's new advocacy campaign, k2kUSA, designed to bring kids together and empower them to advocate for a fair chance for all kids, including comprehensive education opportunities for every kid in the United States.
President Obama said in his State of the Union address: "In the 21st century, one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education. In this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than their potential."
We hope those powerful words -- and the simple truths they express -- are celebrated through the Valentine's Day project and advocated by kids through k2kUSA.com.
It's not hard to imagine an even greater United States in the coming decades if the the values of responsibility, unity and service are instilled in kids today.