by Terry Rogers
Tara Simpson explained that she has a son who is a senior at Milford High School who was having a difficult time with the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on his senior year. She felt that other students may have been feeling the same way and she wanted to find a way to make them feel loved and appreciated.
“I wanted them to be reassured we are all thinking about them and supportive of them,” Simpson said. “My sister, who lives in the Detroit area, was participating in an Adopt A Senior program for her son who is also a Class of 2020 graduate. She offered to give me a hand since she was familiar with the process.”
Simpson explained that adopters see a list of “Favorite Things” posted on Facebook by the seniors who are participating and are encouraged to put together a “care package” of items from the list. There is a dollar amount minimum and maximum to keep the gifts reasonable yet fair. The adopter reaches out to the person who nominated the senior and arranges for delivery.
“We know school administrators were busy figuring out classes and graduation so I wanted to give our community and parents the chance to come together for the students,” Simpson said. “The page has taken off with more than 500 members and we have had over 50 students adopted within the first week. The smiles on their faces when someone surprises them with a package shows us that these small tokens of love are bringing something positive to them in a time when they may be having trouble focusing on the good things.”
The group understands that not all students and families use Facebook.
“We have set up an email that anyone can email a nomination for adoption and we will post it on the site along with an email address to arrange for delivery,” Simpson said. “Anyone can email us with pictures of the student and a list of their favorite things such as snacks, drinks, candy, restaurants, stores to shop, hobbies, etc. Students can be nominated by anyone but need to have a parent/guardian’s permission and have contact information for delivery of the gift.”
Jo Schmeiser adopted an MHS senior through the program.
“When I was a senior, our teachers went on strike in the fall, and, although we were allowed to visit friends and go anywhere, we did not have any of the usual fall high school events,” Schmeiser said. “Although that was pretty devastating, I can’t imagine not being able to hang out with my friends, do all the school-related activities and not be able to have a traditional graduation, too. When I saw the Adopt-A-Senior program on Facebook, I thought it was a wonderful and fun idea that might help brighten the spirits of our local seniors. While scrolling, I noticed a gal who was a field hockey player, like me, and was going to a local school, so I thought I’d adopt her. It was fun shopping for her and when I saw the smile on her face when I delivered her gift basket was definitely worth it.”
Simpson’s son Trevor, who received a gift from Kelly Greenly, stated that the gift was a nice surprise and it gave him a good feeling that someone he did not know was thinking about him. Greenly went to school with Trevor’s parents and she wanted to do something to let him and other seniors know that people were thinking of them.
“It was nice to know that people were thinking of all of us seniors,” Trevor said. “This has been a tough situation for us and it’s hard not to focus on all that we are missing out on. But receiving a surprise from an adopter was awesome!”
Brooke Van Weele, another senior who was adopted through the program, agreed. Brooke will be heading to Beebe School of Nursing to study in the Associate of Arts Program with the University of Delaware before transferring to the University for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in pediatric oncology.
“I think the entire adoption idea was a really good idea for us seniors this year because this hasn’t been the ideal senior year we all hoped for,” Brooke said. “So, being adopted felt really good and I have a lot of gratitude to the people who adopted me and who have adopted my fellow classmates.”
The Adopt a Senior program will run through Milford High School graduation which is scheduled for June 18th. The email address to nominate a student is email@example.com or the group can be contacted through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/602532340609577/. The group is private and anyone who wishes to join must be accepted by administrators in order to protect the privacy of the students and families.