In a school year filled with reduced interactions, Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church members, in Loveland, Colorado, United States, took the initiative to connect with academy students by surprising them with an adopt-a-student program during the second semester.
Church members volunteered to randomly select students to bless with small gifts, such as snacks, homemade goodies, and more, each week after church.
“It was the highlight of my week to go to church and see a gift waiting for me there,” Campion tenth-year student Faith Evert said. “I also liked that it was anonymous, so it always kept me wondering and looking around the church to guess who had me.”
The church members’ small yet thoughtful gifts made a significant impact on students. Eleventh grade student Jared Marcenaro commented, “My adoptive family gave me my very first evening devotional, and now, because of them, I am growing spiritually.”
The adopt-a-student program was created by a church Grow Group, which hosted events to engage students with members throughout the school year.
A leader of the group, Codi Jahn, shared, “At the beginning of the school year, I felt disconnected from the Campion students. Usually, our paths cross in church, but with COVID restrictions in place, I never saw any of them! I wanted to do something to let them know how valuable they [are] to our church and that ultimately this campus is here because of them: this is their church.”
Students shared the sentiment. “In previous years, I felt there always seemed to be this type of separation from the church and the school. It didn’t feel like we were truly connecting, at least until this year,” Campion twelfth-year student Mark Zelaya said. “My favorite part of this program is feeling that connection and feeling that someone in the church cares for you.”
Throughout the year, the group hosted events such as meals and game nights. The program ended on May 2, 2021, with brunch, as organizers invited families to introduce themselves to their adopted students.
Jenny Gann, Campion school nurse, helped to create the program. “I enjoyed hearing students talk about how excited they were to meet the families who adopted them,” Gann said. “The meet-and-greet we had on Sunday was a really fun way for our students and church members to get to know each other a little bit better, and [to] hopefully make some more connections, and build relationships.”
Twelfth-year student Jayden Anggormas agreed. “It was heartwarming to see faculty from the church care about students from Campion,” he said. “I would love for them to continue the program for next year and years to come.”