Good Neighbors

No Prom? No Problem! Wait Until You Hear How These Students Are Giving Back

Instead of planning for their senior prom, these students are teaching a master class in generosity during this challenging time.

In a normal year, high school seniors would be gearing up for spring activities like prom and graduation. But, in the age of coronavirus, times are anything but normal.

Schools across the country remain closed to help stop the spread of the virus, and while some areas have yet to make the call about whether students will finish the year remotely, most students are coming to terms with the reality that the events they had planned for all year are likely going to be canceled, or postponed.

You might expect students to be upset or angry that their senior year has been turned upside down (and who could blame them?), but some are using the change of plans to help others.

For example, when seniors at Cranston High School East in Rhode Island found out their prom was probably not going to happen, they decided to donate a portion of the funds they had raised for the event to a good cause.

The idea to donate came from the East Cranston HS student council. Fox 46

The students, led by 2020 class president Genesis Aldana, decided to fund lunch and dinner for the staff at Scandinavian Communities, a nearby assisted living facility.

Staff at Scandinavian Communities Assisted Living Facility were treated to lunch and dinner thanks to seniors at nearby Cranston East HS. Scandinavian Communities/Facebook

Nursing homes and assisted living centers have been hit hard by the coronavirus, so the students wanted a way to give back to the people who were working overtime to keep patients safe.

Aldana said that a portion of the budget that would have gone to "all the glitz and glam," like flowers and centerpieces, instead was used to buy meals for the 150 staff members at Scandinavia.

"When we contacted them, they were completely caught by surprise," Aldana told Fox 46.

The seniors wanted to pay it forward using funds from their school's prom budget. Scandinavian Communities/Facebook

Skilled nursing facilities like Scandinavia Communities haven't allowed any visitors since early March, so the staff has been doing their best to not only keep their patients healthy, but to keep them company while they can't see their loved ones.

"These nurses are practically like their parents, and they're the ones that are caring for them 24/7," Aldana said.

So, last week, the staff was treated to smoothies and meals from Tropical Smoothie Café, thanks to the generous seniors at Cranston HS.

"These students were so thoughtful to think of us as my staff are really the 'heroes' here at Scandinavian Communities," Colette Silverman, Executive Director at Scandinavian Communities, said in a note to Fox 46.

Staff enjoyed meals from a local restaurant, which also benefitted from the business.Scandinavian Communities/Facebook

The act was a double dose of kindness from the seniors, since they purchased the food from a local restaurant – another industry that has suffered from being closed during the pandemic.

"Being able to talk to someone and see that just a simple lunch, a simple act of kindness is really gonna boost up their whole team because that's the kind of hope that they need, so that really stood out to us," Aldana said about their act of kindness. "It was just something within us that we wanted to do, we weren't really expecting anything in return."

The donation effort was led by Cranston HS 2020 class president, Genesis Aldana. Fox 46

As for the prom, Aldana says they'll still have it if they're able to, but it will likely be a lot less formal than originally planned.

"The girls don't have to dress up," Aldana said. "It would kind of just be like, 'Hey, we did it! After this whole thing, let's just celebrate and have music and food, and let's all enjoy."

How can you start something good?

Inspired by the Cranston HS students' act of kindness?

If you're a high school senior, why not organize a similar effort in your community? You can start by reaching out to your school's student council, and take it from there. Just be sure to contact the facility you would like to donate to ahead of time to work out the details.

Even if you're not a high school student, there are plenty of ways to help front-line workers in your community every day. Some folks are buying gas for nurses, others are donating meals and medical supplies. Check out our Kindness During Crisis stories for some inspiration.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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