Life's Choices sends notes, gift cards to Hamburg and Kutztown Class of 2020

Hamburg graduate Ethan Long (left) used a gift card from Life’s Choices for a hot drink from Ian Young (center), a barista at Four Twelve in Hamburg. With them is Pastor Mark Caston of The Bridge, which cosponsored the gift cards to Hamburg's 181 seniors. Life's Choices also sent Pop’s Malt Shoppe gift cards to Kutztown's 104 seniors.

High school seniors from Hamburg and Kutztown found a surprise in their mailbox recently – a gift card to a local food business plus a note of encouragement from a community organization, Life’s Choices.

Like many locals, the staff of Life’s Choices (a pregnancy and resource center), wanted to show support to individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. As word spread about school closures and questions arose about high school graduations, the staff of Life’s Choices considered what they could do to show they cared in a tangible way.

The staff felt especially connected to the students. The organization’s THRIVE (Targeting Healthy Relationships, Integrity and Value Education) presents to middle and high school health classes each year.

"Life's Choices is committed to investing in our community, especially during this time when so many are struggling,” said Executive Director Joy Stutzman. “We wanted to express our congratulations to the Class of 2020 while at the same time, support our local small businesses.

“We've developed relationships with these students, some of them since they were in middle school. Teaching them to make positive, healthy choices from adolescence on is the heart of who we are. When individuals thrive, families thrive. And when families thrive, communities thrive.”

Life’s Choices contacted Hamburg senior class advisor Terri McCarthy-Wright about sending a note of encouragement with a gift card to Four Twelve Coffee, Hamburg to the 181 graduates. This was a natural connection to make, since staff presented to this group since their 8th grade year.

“The Class of 2020 lost so much with the school closure and the whole quarantine and COVID-19 situation. The community has been so generous to support the students and let them know, in many ways, that they are not forgotten and everyone is thinking about them,” McCarthy-Wright said. “Strangers, neighbors, friends - everyone wants to help in some way.”

“People realize that by helping others, they feel better about themselves because they knew they brought a smile to someone's face. Proverbs 11 verse 25 [says] ‘A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ We feel good about ourselves when we do good deeds for others. Really, small acts of kindness go a long way to let these students know that the surrounding communities want to send happiness to them,” she added.

Then Life’s Choices contacted senior advisors at Kuztown High to send a note and gift card to Pop’s Malt Shoppe, Kutztown, to KAHS’s 104 seniors.

“When Life’s Choices reached out to us, we were so grateful for the opportunity,” said Dakota Seidel, co-owner of Pop’s. “They are supporting a small business while also treating the KASD Class of 2020. With these unusual circumstances, we appreciate their business more than ever and the graduates deserve a little something extra since they will miss normal graduation events this year. It’s a win-win!”

Andrew Brett, senior class advisor, said, "Kutztown Area High School is very grateful for [Life’s Choices’] generosity and community mindedness as we honor and celebrate the Class of 2020."

The note cards were ordered from a local print shop, Bestonium of Hamburg. The Bridge Church in Hamburg split the cost for the Four Twelve gift cards and their name went on those cards, as well. The coffee shop and church are connected ministries.

“We love our Hamburg students,” said Brianna Boyer, Four Twelve manager. “This was such a great opportunity to bless the seniors in this weird and difficult time.”

The mailing to Hamburg and Kutztown seniors is one way that Life’s Choices continues to operate and support the community. The organization has remained open during the pandemic and offers pregnancy tests, confirmation ultrasounds and STD testing, all free of charge. In addition, parenting classes are offered virtually via video chat and phone during the pandemic. The offices have also given out dozens of material supply packets, including diapers, baby food, formula and wipes, during the stay at home order.

For more about Life’s Choices, visit www.LifesChoicesSupport.org or visit their Facebook or Instagram pages.

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