Pictured: Cyriah Williams, a senior at Oxnard High School received a gift box as part of the Adopt a Grad program. Photo submitted. 

by Kateri Wozny

Those wishing to help out a class of 2020 Ventura County graduate who can’t participate in their commencement can do so through a private Facebook group.

Sara Herrera Reeves, founding administrator of the Ventura County Class of 2020 Adopt a Grad page, started the group on April 19 after noticing graduate yard signs in her neighborhood.   

“I got online, started ordering candy and placed the gift bags on their doorsteps,” Herrera Reeves said. “One girl I gifted wrote me a thank you letter and left flowers on my doorstep. I thought, okay, I got to do something and reached out to the local moms groups.”

To date, more than 9,000 members are a part of the group while 1,950 graduates have been “adopted.”

“It’s a milestone marker that kids are missing out on,” said Herrera Reeves. “They’re our future. Being a mom, sometimes it takes a village, so let’s keep encouraging them to move forward.” 

Here’s how it works: after submitting a request to join the group and becoming approved, parents or guardians can submit a biography and photo of their graduate or child being promoted from preschool, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school or college on the page’s “write something” field. 

“There are so many people coming from different walks of life reaching out to the kids to help raise them up,” Herrera Reeves said. 

Another form allows for members to adopt an available graduate under the “not adopted” topic. After claiming the graduate, the adopter then sends a private direct message or an email to the parent or guardian to discuss gift and delivery options.

“We release between 75 to 100 graduates a day,” Herrera Reeves said. “Once that last one gets adopted, then we release the next batch. We want to make sure every kid gets adopted.” 

Herrera Reeves herself has adopted 12 graduates and has given them items such as candy, flowers, gift cards, soda and bath salts. There is no set amount to how much an adopter can spend.

“We say that this is a gift, you don’t put limitations or expectations on a gift,” Herrera Reeves said.

The last day for submissions is Sunday, May 31. 

“I want the students to take away that humanity is alive,” Herrera Reeves said. “We want them to get the recognition they earn and deserve.” 

For more information on the program, visit Ventura County Class of 2020 Adopt a Grad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/243385407043891.