The pandemic induced many disruptions for the community, but it did not stop the determined parents of the graduating seniors. The past two years sparked creativity among the parents of students at Lowry High School, including local parent, Jennifer Ortega, who started an Adopt-a-Senior program to compensate for the unique circumstances that 2020 presented. Two years later, the program is still helping the community connect with graduating seniors and their families to dote on and encourage them as they gear up to celebrate graduation.
Ortega said the idea sprouted after a family member in another state mentioned the program they had and it grew from there.
She said she heard about it and thought, “what a great idea for the seniors here.”
The idea was so popular that the group had approximately 400 people in it last year, according to Ortega, and 217 members so far since it was recommenced this year. The Facebook group, Lowry Class of 2022 Adopt a Senior, is easy to find and can be done by just searching the group on Facebook and clicking “join.”
Ortega explained, “basically parents post their kids and people from town can get on and choose to adopt them.”
After joining, the group provides a platform for sponsors and the parents, family members or loved ones of the senior to coordinate with each other. The group page provides a few guidelines for sponsorship, including a simple list of information about the adoptee, like their favorite color, favorite snacks, sports they may play, the college of their choice if they plan on attending, and favorite local coffee shops, restaurants and other stores. Then, sponsors can give gifts like food and snacks, money, gift cards for fuel, and any other gifts that sponsors feel would be a blessing to seniors. Some families and businesses have even chosen to give students more extravagant gifts, like laptops, according to Ortega. She added that any gift or spectrum of sponsorship is appreciated, no matter the expense. After all, it is the thought that counts. The guideline list for basic information about the sponsoree was recently translated into Spanish for those that may need it and is available on the page, according to Ortega. She explained that she wants everyone to be included.
“We ensure that every senior that’s on there gets adopted,” she said.
According to the page, individuals and families can sponsor more than one senior and Ortega coordinates a multitude of different donation opportunities and added that she organizes donations to go to seniors that have not been adopted by graduation.
“I always wait until the end in case someone doesn’t get adopted,” she explained. Ortega also said that some sponsors choose to surprise seniors with gifts all the way up until graduation. The program is really suited to accommodate anyone who wants to participate, with the degree of involvement unique to each sponsor.
Ortega said that she is currently trying to get home-schooled students involved as well to extend the group to even more people and said “those students shouldn’t be left out.”
Parents and loved ones who would like to be involved but do not use Facebook can get in touch with Ortega personally, by calling her at 775-304-9404.