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Panzer SAC students send Valentine’s love to mailroom staff

Tammy Clarke, work lead at the Panzer Community Mail Room (CMR), poses with the bulletin board showcasing handmade hearts and supportive messages from the Panzer School Age Center (SAC) Service Learning Club, Feb. 23. Photo by Ava Harris, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

By Ava Harris
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Career Practicum Student

Valentine’s Day is typically a time celebrated with romantic love, but the kids of the School Aged Center (SAC) on Panzer Kaserne chose to use the holiday as an opportunity to send love to the community. Presented with cookies and heart-shaped crafts from the students – along with a note reading, “Roses are red, violets are blue, we want you to know how much we appreciate you!” – the staff of the Panzer Community Mail Room (CMR) were brought to tears by their act of kindness.

The SAC’s Service Learning Club, led by Child & Youth Program Assistant (CYPA) Shanna Grant-Olshausen, has previously assembled Halloween candy bags for the gate guards and firefighters to celebrate their service. This time, they chose to show appreciation to members of the postal team.

“As CYPAs, we work with the kids, come up with different clubs, talk with them and ask them what they’re interested in and what they’re passionate about,” Grant-Olshausen said. “One of those things is helping the community.”

Grant-Olshausen has been working at the SAC for just eight months but has already been able to orchestrate multiple volunteer projects with the children of the center.

As the Service Learning Club’s facilitator, she sees her role as helping to put her students’ ideas into action. She teaches them how to properly execute their projects in terms of time management and lends a hand in designing and assembling the gifts, with the goal of showing students the positive effects they can have through their work.

“I think it’s so important that the kids understand that just by doing little things like this, they can make a difference,” she said.

Shortly before Valentine’s Day, Grant-Olshausen came into the CMR office and met work lead Tammy Clarke to hand over the bag of handmade hearts and cookies. Clarke was overjoyed by the surprise, later posting on a community Facebook group to show off the gesture. In her thirteen years working in garrison postal across two tours, Clarke had never seen this sort of gift from such a young group.

“It’s a quality-of-life service that we provide here, just like when you go to get food or gas, so it’s nice to feel appreciated in that way too,” Clarke said.

While the kids themselves couldn’t come along to drop the goodies off, many of them came around the CMR later to see the impact of their act of kindness on Clarke and her coworkers.

“The kids know how to give back; the kids know how to appreciate people in the community, and know they’re appreciated too even though they’re little ones,” Clarke said.

The cookies disappeared quickly, but the paper hearts with loving messages proudly graced the CMR bulletin board for the rest of the month.


Ava Harris is a senior at Stuttgart High School working with the USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office as part of DoDEA’s Career Practicum program.

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