Students at Cano Freshman Academy submitted 83 custom-made notes to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends letters and personalized care packages to service personnel.
The students wrote letters not only to troops, but also to veterans, first responders, and frontline healthcare workers.
The idea for this project began when Cano BIM teacher, Anthony Alcazar came across the Operation Gratitude website.
“I have known about Operation Gratitude for some time but had never gotten involved with them specifically,” Alcazar said. “As a veteran, I look for ways to give back or to pay it forward to other veterans and active-duty military as well as first responders. I happened to stumble across Operation Gratitude’s website one day in early December and the idea popped into my head almost immediately.”
In the Business Information Management class, students learn technical skills to apply business applications to produce professional products such as business letters, spreadsheets, and digital presentations using appropriate software.
Alcazar decided to create an assignment that would incorporate the Operation Gratitude initiative into his next lesson: writing business letters.
“Our BIM students were learning about producing business letters just before the holiday break,” Alcazar said. “I thought this would be a great way for the students to not only get a little reprieve from the typical lessons and workload in class, but to also give back to those who many consider to be heroes. I spent a few years’ worth of holidays and birthdays away from family and friends while I was stationed in Germany with my wife and children. You really do miss a lot and receiving a care package, even if not from your own family, means the world.”
Alcazar invited a fellow educator, Cano BIM teacher Monica Moran to join him in pursuing this project. With the combined effort, the two Cano teachers ended up with 83 letters that were sent to Operation Gratitude for dissemination in the care packages they provide.
“The students were made aware of the initiative and had the option of withholding their letter from being sent out should they choose,” Alcazar said. “Much of what was said in the letters was from the heart, and in many cases, from personal experiences with their own family members.”
Caleb Saucedo, a freshman at Cano, addressed his letter to a veteran.
“I chose to write to a veteran because I have a few in my family, and they have told me how much letters like these mean to them,” Saucedo said. “I am so glad that the veteran I wrote to got a bit of happiness and respect because they deserve it. I am just extremely grateful to put forth my gratitude towards veterans, and I’m happy this class gave me the chance to do that.”
Cano freshman Aryana Claudio wrote to first responders.
“I chose first responders because I hope to be one after high school,” Claudio said. “I felt that this was a nice experience to be able to warm a hero’s life. Even if it was just a little assignment; it was something else to them.”
Operation Gratitude responded to the donation of notes with a thank you letter.
“I really want to thank the students for their amazing work with these letters,” Alcazar said. “Collectively, they reached out and touched the hearts of 83 heroes from every corner of our country. I’m hoping that maybe we can turn this into something bigger next year.”