By Campion News – Loveland, Colorado … In a school year filled with reduced interactions, Campion church members took the initiative to connect with academy students by surprising them with the adopt-a-student program during the second semester.

Church members volunteered to randomly select students to bless with small gifts, such as favorite 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,” said Campion sophomore Faith Evert. “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 big impact on students. Jared Marcenaro, Campion junior, 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 year.

A leader of the group, Codi Jahn, expressed, “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 were [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,” said Campion senior Mark Zelaya. “My favorite part of this program is really feeling that connection and feeling that someone in the church actually cares for you.”

Throughout the year, the group hosted events such as meals and game nights. The program culminated last Sunday, May 2, with brunch, inviting the families to introduce themselves to their adopted students.

Jenny Gann, Campion nurse helped to create the program. “I really enjoyed hearing students talk about how excited they were to meet the families who adopted them,” Gann reflected. “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.”

“It was really heartwarming to see faculty from the church actually care about students from Campion,” concluded Jayden Anggormas, Campion senior. “I would love for them to continue the program for next year and years to come.”

–Campion News; photos supplied