Hamilton community ‘adopting’ high-school seniors to spread cheer during pandemic

Community spreading cheer by "adopting" Hamilton High School seniors

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Three Hamilton moms have started a special social media project for seniors who are missing out on events and activities because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the Class of 2020, this year’s journey to graduation has been an unusual one.

School buildings statewide are closed. That means sports, social activities and other extracurricular activities, like choir, have been shut down too.

For seniors at Hamilton High School, it has been disappointing knowing they are missing out on memories.

“It really sucks that we don’t get our last anything," senior Alicia Foley said. "We don’t get the last day to say goodbye to all of our friends or teachers. I finally got a lead role in a play, and I don’t get to do that now.”

Knowing the graduating seniors are feeling down, three mothers, Tara Hypes, Ashley Foley and Mary Ellen Mullins, wanted to lift them up.

They started Hamilton’s “Adopt a Senior” program on social media after seeing a similar idea come to fruition in another state.

The program is run through a Facebook group. Relatives of Hamilton seniors post a picture of their senior in the group with a short biography.

Then, anyone in the community, whether it be a teacher, a neighbor or a stranger, can “adopt” the seniors by commenting on their pictures and committing to the cause.

Next, the “adopters” send the students they have “adopted" surprises.

“Once three people have adopted the senior, it’s closed out, but basically adopting them, you just send them a small gift, just to let them know you’re thinking of them," Mullins explained

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Organizers say the response so far has been amazing.

“It shows that people care, that they’re not, they’re being selfless, that they’re not just thinking about themselves in this situation," senior Phoebe Powell said. "They’re thinking about everybody else.”

It is not too late to play a part in the group act of generosity. Organizers say that no gift, no gesture is too small, because in this case, it is the thought that counts.

“I think that is gonna be a great story," Hypes said. "They’re gonna be able to tell their kids and their grandkids how their community came together and still loved on them even from a distance.”

Dozens of seniors have already been nominated to be a part of the project. The group is still seeking additional “adopters.”

“I’m just glad to be a part of it I suppose," Foley said. "I have a hard time not adopting every single one of them.”

Organizers say they are also looking for businesses who may want to “adopt” seniors as well.

Anyone interested in being a part of the project can visit the “Adopt a Senior HHS Edition” Facebook group.

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