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Valentine's: 5 Ways to Make It Mean More

Instead of the usual flowers and candy, here are five ideas for a fun and beneficial holiday of heart.

The month of romance is upon us, and we're gearing up for one of the largest card-sending holidays of the year, second only to Christmas. But why do we celebrate Valentine's Day and its patron saint?

While several stories and beliefs attempt to explain the mysterious history of the holiday, one legend holds that Valentine was a priest who married young soldiers and their loves against orders of the emporer, who believed single men made better soldiers, according to the History Channel. When discovered, Valentine was put to death.

Celebrated throughout the centuries and in many parts of the world, gifts and notes became common exchanges on Valentine's Day. Now, an estimated 150 million valentines this year will be bought for the tokens of our affections, according to the Greeting Card Association.

But if it's about more than a card, candy or flowers for your sweetheart, consider ideas for activities available in Cartersville as Valentine's Day approaches:

Daddies, Daughters, Get Down!

The city of Cartersville's fifth-annual Daddy Daughter Dance is set for Feb. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. Held at the , the event brings together fathers and their little girls for dancing, light refreshments, and games and door prizes, but will create priceless memories.

Ellis Tucker, who has attended the dance each year since its inception, told it's fun and a way to capture the opportunities he won't have when his 8-year-old grows up.

Usually a sell out, officials also welcome grandfathers and male guardians to accompany their girls—ages 5 to 12—to the dance.

The cost is $20, which includes a corsage, plus $10 for each additional child, but register by Feb. 10 at the pool office and remember, space is limited.

More Than a Gift: A Home

Looking for a gift to go along with that card? For children or anyone who enjoys cute faces, four legs and the paws that come with them, adopting a pet from allows loving souls to give—twice.

In addition to finding forever homes and caring for dogs and cats, the agency, serving Bartow and surrounding counties, coordinates animal rescues and provides related transportation. Check out this homeless pet-focused Facebook page by EVHS' Jan Granai for success stories and information on four-legged friends whose time is running out.

EVHS' , a fundraiser for the nonprofit that operates on donated funds and the adoptions fees it generates, is set for Saturday and includes Vegas-style casino gaming—blackjack, craps, poker, roulette—food, drinks and live entertainment. "Place Your Bets for Homeless Pets" and have a little fun in the process, as there's no chance you'll go home broke.

Citing a viable service and an "unacceptable" euthanasia rate of 64 percent, EVHS Director Bryan Canty said community support and responsible pet ownership are required to solve pet homelessness, reported.

On the Street Where You Live

What about homeless people, you say? If you like music, we're in luck.

is set to entertain lovebirds with romantic songs from film favorites, including My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany's, according to the newspaper.

Proceeds from , set for Feb. 14 at The Theatre, benefit Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, which in 2011 served more homeless adults and children than ever before. It also heavily relies on local donations.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $18.

For a Cause: Cocktails, Auctions and More

To be held at the  Cartersville Service League's 29th-annual Ways and Means Dance, Cocktails for a Cause, benefits children of Bartow County via a number of local nonprofits, organizations and programs.

The Feb. 11 event at 7 p.m. is for lovers 21 and older and will include a live band, casino, food buffet, beer and wine, and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $60 in advance or $65 at the door, but you'll need additional cash for mixed drinks and a shot to win the raffle.

Donating more than $30,000—mostly to local children's charities—as a result of last year's Cocktails event, CSL's 34 members raised $60,000 in all their activities and gave a lot of themselves in time, Stephanie Johnson told . Tutoring, Special Olympics and meals for kids are just a few of the group's volunteer efforts.

Give of Yourself with Time

Speaking of helping without your pocketbook, in addition to Give 5, our way of giving back, Patch loves volunteers and makes it easy for them to connect with local organizations.

In the Volunteers Needed section of our Announcements, you'll find a number of opportunities to serve the community. Here are just a few:

If you represent a local agency in need of volunteers, please let us and the community know by posting your volunteers-needed announcement today! Just click Add an Announcement.

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