Facebook group helps community surprise 2020 graduates

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Monday, June 29, 2020
Facebook group helps community surprise 2020 graduates
More than 400 students who have missed out on graduation ceremonies have been surprised with care packages through the Adopt-a-Senior Facebook group.

Strangers are reaching out to spread some kindness to 2020 graduates during these tough times.

Students across Long Beach, CA are getting "adopted" by community members through the Adopt-a-Senior Long Beach Facebook group.

"It was a community-based group to acknowledge high school seniors, as well as graduating college students, fifth graders and eight graders that are promoting to their next school," said Lisa Kammel of Long Beach.

Kammel posted a few pictures of her daughter, Olivia, to the group, writing that the soon-to-be Long Beach Poly graduate has been making masks during her free time and plans to study pre-med at San Diego State in the fall.

"Her mom wrote just a really great little bio about how she's born on the Fourth of July and is a firecracker," said Heather Walker, the Long Beach mom who "adopted" Olivia.

Walker, a complete stranger to the Kammels, surprised Olivia with a Fourth of July-themed gift basket, or what she called a "senior quarantine survival kit," on her doorstep.

"It was so heartwarming that someone would think of something like that to do or someone else just out of the kindness of their heart," Olivia said.

Over 400 students have been "adopted" through the Facebook group, which was created by Rhiannon Wilson.

"It was definitely a way to give the kids something to look forward to, but also for the parents," Wilson said.

Wilson's brother, Nick, is graduating from Millikan High School.

"Not being able to walk down the stage, I think, is going to hit my mom more," Wilson said.

Kammel, whose oldest child will miss out on a traditional graduation ceremony, could not agree more.

"I found a sense of community in this group," Kammel said. "Just the gesture of something that feels heartwarming is amazing."