YORK COUNTY, Pa. — It's a tough time right now for many seniors who had their hopes set on a traditional graduation ceremony, as well as senior citizens in nursing homes who haven't seen loved ones because of visitor restrictions. But a new program could turn their spirits around.
Barbara Heromin and Katrina Pauling don't know each other, but they share something in common.
74-year-old Heromin is a senior living at The Haven at Springwood in York County.
17-year-old Pauling is also a senior who is wrapping up her last year at York County School of Technology.
The two seniors have just one reason to feel down.
Pauling isn't going to have a traditional graduation ceremony.
"Yeah, that bothered me a lot, too," Pauling said. "Especially given how I wouldn't get to see my friends again and I know that my sisters really wanted to see me walk across the stage. Like I got to see them."
Heromin hasn't seen her family in-person in more than two months because of COVID-19, along with just about every other resident living in a senior community in Pennsylvania. Which gave Kim Sullivan, the woman in charge of activities at The Haven at Springwood, an idea for a new program: "To a Senior, from a Senior."
"I think I was just trying to come up with something else for them to do," Sullivan, the Resident Experience Director, said. "And something to think about and focus on the positive and not necessarily just, 'me and these four walls'."
The program connects her residents to graduating seniors across York County through a handwritten card or a nice note with advice for the future.
I think that's really sweet," Pauling said. "I just love hearing stories so much. So I think that this is going to be really cool. Especially given how they're going to have a totally different perspective about what's happening."
Heromin, whose granddaughter is also graduating this year, is on board. She feels bad for this year's seniors.
"Oh yeah," Heromin said. "You want your prom, and you want all the graduation ceremonies and all that goes with it. And when you don't have that, you kinda feel cheated."
"I'm really excited to hear from them," Pauling said. "I can't wait to see what they have to say."
If you know a graduating senior, high school or college, who might be interested in receiving a card, email Kim Sullivan at: email@example.com.