A Different Kind of Valentine

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to celebrating love and all things sweet. February 14th is a perfect day to reflect on our special relationships and all of the ways that we spread love to those around us. 

The concept of love however, is not contained to one particular notion. Some of the purest forms of love entail acts that challenge popular traditions often associated with today. While a card, box of chocolates, or bouquet of flowers speak volumes, it is interesting to explore other unique and meaningful ways to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Many SUNY Oswego students take the initiative to spread love and positivity all year long, and their altruistic efforts launch a continuous reaction of kindness within our community. 

One program that inspires our students to give back through generous acts of volunteer work is Adopt a Grandparent. This organization supplies transportation to student volunteers, bringing them to local nursing homes where they spend time with their residents and help organize a variety of activities intended to help them relax, have fun, and form special connections with one another. 

Bradley Stoyell, a sophomore at SUNY Oswego, kindly took the time to answer a few questions about his experience as a group leader for the Adopt a Grandparent Program. His reflection on the many meaningful opportunities he has gained through this position can give us all an important reminder of the abundance of different types of love we can display in this world. 

Bradley explained the work that Adopt a Grandparent does with Saint Luke’s nursing home and emphasized the significance of the special bonds created between their residents and the student volunteers. He shared how positive their group experiences are while working with a kind staff who cares deeply for their residents and how rewarding building these relations can be.

When asked about his most memorable experience spreading love in the Oswego community, Stoyell shared a story about the time he and a friend noticed a flustered elderly woman at a local gas station who could not find her way home. He explained that through his experience with Adopt a Grandparent, he’s worked with a variety of residents suffering from dementia or other cognitive loss which allowed him to recognize similar symptoms in this woman. By staying calm, he was able to retrieve her address and get her home safely. Bradley shared, “this was a huge way of spreading love in the community because I was able to see how loved she felt at that moment.”

Valentine’s Day can have many different meanings, but taking the time to recognize our students who continuously spread love and care within our community feels extra meaningful. The selfless work that is completed by student volunteers like Bradely Stoyell allows for a happier, safer, and more loving environment and that, is a beautiful thing. While February 14th only comes once a year, let’s follow in Bradely’s footsteps and dedicate more time to sharing smiles year round and giving a new meaning to the word love.