Nazzy Moms Unite is a group that was formed by Amy Pidgeon to establish a community of moms in Nazareth that were willing to commit to working together as a team to accomplish the goals of education, safety, and happiness for the children throughout Nazareth.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Amy decided to put together a program called, “Adopt a Senior” to help brighten the day of seniors in Nazareth Area School District during this difficult time, since their graduation and prom was stripped from them.
Through a similar program being offered in Whitehall, Amy got the inspiration to start the “Adopt a Senior” program in Nazareth, however this could not be accomplished through the school district due to privacy laws, so there were some challenges that presented themselves in finding the names, addresses, and phone numbers to the seniors in Nazareth. Through a lot of communication and a community that pushed forward like the little train that could, Nazzy Moms Unite was able to locate and adopt all the seniors in Nazareth.
“I wanted to figure out a way to give back to the seniors of Nazareth and knew I couldn’t get help from the district for this project, so I basically went to an old yearbook and made a master list of all the kids that would be graduating and put it out there. I told the Nazzy Moms Unite community that I would like to adopt every senior to brighten their day and we accomplished that goal by getting over 400 kids adopted in less than two weeks,” says Amy.
Through the “Adopt a Senior” program, parents of seniors were asked to adopt other seniors with the goal of sponsoring all the graduates. They were asked to get creative and deliver some kind of basket or little gift to the senior they adopted and many of the parents went above and beyond by also decorating the seniors’ front lawns with balloons, their front doors, and put up yard signs to show their support for their adoptee.
“It was a, ‘leave no child behind,’ kind of a thing where parents could nominate their children and others to be a part of this program. There was no set amount of money needed, you gave what you could, and it didn’t have to be extravagant, it wasn’t about that, but a lot of people were very generous. Due to this program, we received so many donations that we were able to put together a scholarship that one Nazareth senior will receive on graduation night through a raffle that will also include gift cards,” comments Amy.
Ben Santiago, a senior at the Nazareth Area High School, Class of 2020, was disappointed by all the issues our current situation caused for the seniors of Nazareth.
“Being a senior this year has been disappointing and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. Going through high school you get to see those special senior events take place and you look forward to them and now it feels like our class picked the short straw changing that view for us. Thankfully, our school is doing as much as they can to try and find a way for us to be able to enjoy events like prom and graduation as normally as possible,” says Ben.
“Some programs are not able to be saved, like the Senior vs. Faculty basketball game, and all the spring sports and their seasons. For me, that means that I won’t be having a senior season for baseball and will be missing my senior day. After playing with many of the same guys since I was little, I wish we were able to have that last season together. The best way to describe being a part of the Class of 2020 is by saying we experienced a lot of ‘lasts’ that we did not expect to be our ‘lasts.’ It is like our class is missing closure for many experiences,” adds Ben.
Ben was a football player for two years and a baseball player for four. He was a part of the Concert Band and Chorus for all four years, belonged to SADD, the History Club, MiniTHON, and the Gifted and National Honor Society. He will be attending Penn State in the fall to study Kinesiology with the goal of becoming a Physical Therapist and he hopes that life on campus will be back to normal before he gets there. He is extremely grateful for what all the Nazzy Moms Unite did for the seniors of Nazareth and appreciated the attention to detail and personalized gifts he received.
“It felt great to be a part of the adopted senior program. I was surprised because I really did not expect anything like this to happen. It is great to know that there are people that care about us as seniors and are trying to cheer us up,” Ben said.
“My basket was really nice and I could tell how much time they put into making it personal. It made me happy and I could see how excited the Novak family was to bring me the basket, balloons and sign, especially Zak and Mattingly. When I looked in the basket, I saw that Zak had painted a baseball on a rock and signed the back, and Mattingly had made me a bracelet using Nazareth colors. I really appreciated how much they cared about me to take the time to make me personal gifts. My basket also included a Penn State t-shirt, a gift certificate for the Berkey Creamery at Penn State, and snack foods that I enjoy. Overall, it was just an extremely nice gesture to take the time to put together such a thoughtful basket that was meant just for me, and I am glad I got to be a part of it,” adds Ben.
Marcella Shook, a local photographer who went out to take pictures of the seniors free of charge, added to the incredible support the Nazareth community responded with to this program.
“It’s amazing how our community stepped up and really worked together to get through this and make this time so special for our seniors,” comments Amy.
“My career has been based on helping others, and I think, for me, I’ve always been into volunteering and giving back. It is self-fulfilling and gives me purpose and the fact that I am one person who has formed a group of amazing people who have built our community…I am just so fortunate for that,” adds Amy.
For more information on how you can get involved with Nazzy Moms Unite, please visit https://www.nazzymoms.com/.