Earlier this week, Dominic Armjio's mother asked him to come to the front door. Someone was there to pay him a visit.
When Armijo opened the door, the Eureka High
senior saw his tennis coach, Jason Conley, and his family standing out front with a care package in tow.
It contained a jug of iced tea, cookies, chips and a gift card.
"It was really cool that they took the time and spent their money doing something for me," said Armijo, who plans to study chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas. "I was super grateful. It's one more thing that shows how Eureka Strong we are."
The Conleys "adopted" Armijo through the "EHS Class of 2020 Adopt a Senior"
Facebook page. Parents of the school's seniors post pictures and information about their children on the page and members of the group volunteer to "adopt" each senior and send them care packages containing some of their favorite snacks and goodies.
Eureka senior parents Lisa Helterbrand and Marnie Schneider started the group on April 23, and it now has more than 900 members. They're hoping to help facilitate care packages for all 441 of the school's seniors.
As of Monday, 274 have already been adopted.
"Most of these parents are keeping it a secret from their senior. So when the care package comes, they're surprised that they're getting something," Schneider said. "It has brought a smile to my face. It was just so needed during this time. It's a little memory that these kids will have from this time that will be a good memory."
Schneider and Helterbrand are both members of similar Facebook groups in which their children were adopted. Helterbrand posted the idea of starting a Eureka-specific group to a school parents' Facebook page, and Schneider contacted her to get the ball rolling.
"My heart is just full," Helterbrand said. "I keep smiling. I see someone else post their kid, they get adopted typically within minutes – at the most, a couple hours. We have so many people who are waiting to adopt seniors."
The Facebook page also gives parents, former teachers and community members a chance to post kind, supportive messages about the seniors, who are missing out on many of the customary senior year festivities due to the COVID-19 school closures.
"It feels like people out there care about how we are being affected by this whole thing," said senior Brandon Murphy, who plans to study mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Helterbrand said parents who are not on Facebook can contact her at email@example.com
with information about their seniors in order to get them adopted.
"Our kids are on this emotional rollercoaster trying to wrap their minds around everything that's happening, everything that's on hold," Helterbrand said. "This gives them a little bit of a feel-good moment and something different. No one has ever experienced anything like this. This is a little boost for their morale, and I think probably something they'll never forget."