A social media group started last spring to support graduating high school seniors whose school year was impacted by the pandemic is still going strong one year later. Adopt a High School Senior began in the spring of 2020 when the onset of coronavirus forced school shutdowns and a move to distance learning.
Through technology, community members are able to give back to those who've missed out on major senior year events. Cecile Armitage of Arroyo Grande is one of 3,500 members in the Facebook group and has "adopted" eight seniors since the group went online last spring.
"The surprise and look on their faces I get to see in person or if I get to hand it to them in person is just exciting," Armitage said.
That same reaction is the reason Nikol Neff is also back for a second year.
"Why wouldn't I?" Neff said. "This is so exciting. I think especially this year these kids have had to endure two years of being out of school so I really felt it was important to get involved and pick a kid and get some gifts for him."
How it works: a parent or guardian posts a picture and caption of their graduating high school senior in the Facebook group. From there, anyone in the group can choose to adopt that senior. Then, the adopter curates a gift basket that can then be delivered to that graduating senior.
Lynn Currell, a mom of two Templeton High School seniors, says the program is promoting positivity and recognition during an otherwise tough year.
"It's awesome because it really helps the morale for these kids right now because as a parent you can only tell them so many times you're okay, it's alright, we're moving forward, one day at a time, but when a stranger comes in and tells them that or a family friend, they're like woah," Currell said.
Currell's daughter Brandalyn agrees.
"When someone else cares, it's kind of cool," Brandalyn said.
For these seniors who've missed out on so much as they wrap up their high school careers, the kindness from strangers goes a long way.
"The seniors aren't getting their normal proms and dances and hangouts with friends, so it's just a little something to give them that special senior year memory," Armitage said.
If you have a senior graduating in San Luis Obispo County, or if you want to support one who is, find out details on how to get involved by clicking here.