Project Graduation hosts adopt a senior program

Published 8:00 am Saturday, February 6, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Seniors graduating in the class of 2021 have had a rough year full of stops, starts and COVID-19 restrictions. Recognizing this, one Cassopolis group has set out to help make those students’ senior year a bit brighter.

Hosted through the Cassopolis Project Graduation, which sponsors a safe post-graduation celebration for seniors, the adopt a senior program was started a few weeks ago to help recognize Cassopolis students going through their senior year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Adopt a Cassopolis Senior for the Class of 2021 Facebook page posts photos and bios of graduating seniors to recognize their accomplishments and give community members a chance to “adopt” them. By adopting a senior, a community member  pledges to provide the senior with small gifts or cards and motivation throughout the year.

The Cassopolis program builds off adopt a senior programs that grew in popularity last year across the country to support seniors who had much of their milestone year canceled, including proms and
graduations.

“The seniors have had a really crummy year, so we just wanted to show them some love and let them know that they are appreciated,” said Lesley Steeensma, an organizer with the program. “We wanted to do something to help get them through the rest of the year. Every senior will get adopted, because we don’t want to leave anyone out.”

Steensma has a daughter graduating in the class of 2021. Being close to the situation, Steensma said she sees how difficult the year has been for local seniors.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “[My daughter] is an athlete, and her volleyball season got cut short because of COVID. Basketball has been pushed back, and with softball, we are not really sure what is going to happen. It’s just heartbreaking watching her go through this. She is wondering about prom. She missed out on homecoming.”

Despite the hardships seniors face, Steensma hopes the adopt a senior program can bring a smile to those in the Class of 2021.

“I think it will lift all of their spirits to know that they are not forgot, that we care,” Steensma said. “Even though there is a pandemic going on, we are trying to make this the best year we can for them. I think it will really boost their spirits, give them encouragement. Just letting them know that they have the love and support of their community behind them should really make a difference. I think it will touch their hearts.”

The Cassopolis Project Graduation will be hosting a raffle next month to raise funds for Project Graduation and the adopt a senior program. Starting at the beginning of March, Project Graduation will be selling raffle tickets for $20 each, with a drawing scheduled for March 26. In total, there will be 10 monetary prizes, with a grand prize of $500.

To purchase tickets, contact Steensma on Facebook or email her at lslysteensma@yahoo.com.

To adopt a senior, visit the Adopt a Cassopolis Senior for the Class of 2021 Facebook page.