Project Graduation hosts adopt a senior program

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.

Dowagiac

Warrant issued for Dowagiac man accused of possession of child sexually abusive material

Cass County

COA, Dowagiac District Library partner to launch new book club

News

Niles Master Plan to seek initial approval

Dowagiac

City of Dowagiac reports untreated wastewater discharge

Berrien County

Region prepares for farm workers with new precautions

Berrien County

Michigan expanding access to safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 591,753 cases, 15,563 deaths

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Feb. 24-28

Dowagiac

Dowagiac man arrested on meth charges

Business

Niles restaurants see regulars return as restrictions relax

Berrien County

United Way invites community to sponsor children to receive free books

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 590,217 cases, 15,558 deaths

Berrien County

Niles Township Parks Board seeks public input at Wednesday hearing

Buchanan

Niles Scream Park seeks new nonprofit organizations

Berrien County

Updated MDHHS orders expand restaurant capacity, increase capacity limits, allow for expanded visitation at residential care facilities

News

Niles Township approves state-outlined poverty guidelines, purchases tractor attachment for trails, considers firefighter applicants

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD narrows superintendent search to two candidates

Dowagiac

Dowagiac art students complete Lego murals

News

Former surgeon given 10 to 40 years for criminal sexual conduct

Breaking News

UPDATE: Two teenagers injured in shooting at Niles hotel

Dowagiac

SMC unveils scholarship guarantee

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan 589,150 cases, 15,534 deaths

Business

Applications now available for Dowagiac’s Summer in the City Festival

Breaking News

Two shot, wounded at Niles hotel