Lucy Corr seniors ‘adopt’ Chesterfield high school seniors as both experience losses from COVID-19

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — As the coronavirus plagues long-term care facilities around the country, the Lucy Corr retirement community in Chesterfield told 8News they haven’t had any positive COVID-19 cases.

The facility has strict rules to prevent the virus from entering the facility. Visitors haven’t been allowed in months. 

Many residents told 8News the pandemic is tough on them emotionally. “It’s been difficult for everybody but we’re plugging along,” resident Cheryl Handren said.

Meanwhile, seniors in high school aren’t getting prom or a traditional graduation ceremony. “It was pretty devastating to hear, as I’m sure it was for a lot of other seniors,” Carleigh Reiffer, a senior at Cosby High School, said.

It’s certainly a non-traditional year. The rest of Reiffer’s senior year was cut short in March. “I was looking forward to all of that,” she said. 

Reiffer’s parents tried to lift her spirits by holding an at-home prom in April. “My boyfriend came over and we danced and my brother was a DJ,” she said. “They did dinner and everything so that was really fun.”

The Lucy Corr seniors read a description of their high school senior to find out what they like. They pick items and assemble personalized gift baskets. Many of the baskets have college essentials, handwritten letters, and more.

Those living at Lucy Corr can empathize because they’re losing out on valuable family time. “It’s been a while but I’ve got my Lucy Corr family,” resident Connie Stroupe said. “To me it’s so been so sad for these seniors to have to go through what they’ve gone through this year.” 

This week, staff at Lucy Corr started a project called “Seniors Adopting Seniors.” They’re pairing high school seniors, like Reiffer, with their residents. “It’s like senior pen pals,” Lucy Corr CEO Derrick Kendall told 8News. “They’ll always remember their senior years.”

It’s all part of a bigger project that started on Facebook called “Adopt a Senior 2020 RVA” where people around the community, who aren’t in assisted living homes, are doing similar things to congratulate the region’s high school seniors. 

“I thought it would be something great to take my mind off of my own grandchildren and help somebody else’s child,” Handren said.

The Lucy Corr seniors read a description of their high school senior to find out what they like. They pick items and assemble personalized gift baskets. Many of the baskets have college essentials, handwritten letters, and more.

“I hope to meet him and learn a little bit more about him,” Handren said about her senior match.

“Even though it’s not what I thought it would be I still feel all the love from everybody else,” Reiffer said, referring to her senior year. 

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