The student-led Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society at Virginia Western Community College is holding a fundraiser during the month of February to support Commonwealth Catholic Charities and the organization’s work with refugee resettlement. The “Share the Love” fundraiser began with the on-campus sale of paper Valentine’s hearts, upon which donors were asked to write encouraging messages, quotes and names of loved ones on. The hearts were strung together and hung on the pedestrian bridge at Virginia Western.

Now, PTK is continuing the fundraising effort for “Share the Love” and directing interested donors to find out more about Commonwealth Catholic Charities and donate at http://cccofva.org/donate/.

“The goal of this project was not to start a political battle, it was not to start a cultural divide, nor was it make people angry,” said Cassidy Peters, the PTK chapter vice president for public relations. “Our goal was to be someone’s first act of kindness, a first hug, a first welcome home.”

Phi Theta Kappa’s mission is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students. The organization also provides opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming. Students are invited into membership near the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. The requirements to receive an invitation are: completion of 12 credits at Virginia Western (credit level courses), 3.5 cumulative GPA (minimum) and enrollment in a degree program.

Each year, PTK chooses a service project topic to complete an Honors in Action challenge. This year’s project was chosen to focus on local refugees. The objective is to educate the public, raise awareness for the cause and assist the charity or cause.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program provides basic goods such as clothes, shoes, food and toiletries until local refugees can get on their feet. It also provides case management, employment placement and orientation, adult English instruction, educational planning, and family mentorship.