Getting Started on Adopt-a-Family

What’s new and what students can do to get involved


Rocky Mountain High School


Aaron Lambert, Staff Member

Winter is coming, and so is one of the largest philanthropic efforts of the school year.

Adopt-a-family, the event in which homerooms take on providing groceries, presents, and other household goods to families in need during the holiday season, is more than just a fundraiser. It forms a cornerstone of Rocky’s community presence and is something students are very proud of.

“It’s such an awesome experience to see how many families are impacted,” senior Austin Maciel said. Maciel has been helping with Adopt-a-family through his involvement as a Peer counselor. Adopt-a-family started as a Peer project with only a few families receiving aid in 1995. The program currently caters to around 80 families chosen year-to-year based on referrals.

“We have a ton of families and we try to give them as much support and normalcy as possible,” Maciel said.

The charity has been going for 21 school years, but has always been under the supervision and coordination of former counselor Pam Kilness. Kilness retired last year and has turned the program over to assistant principal Tyler Nickel for this year’s event.

“Mrs. Kilness has been here and she trained a couple of us on how to do this,” Nickel said. “But this is our first year without her.”

Despite Kilness’ absence, the program will continue as close to the same as it has in years past. Adopt-a-family takes around 80 families and its logistical load is as ambitious as always.“The response is pretty incredible and sometimes overwhelming,” Nickel said. “They are overwhelmed and very very appreciative.”

The response is pretty incredible and sometimes overwhelming”

— Asst. Principal Tyler Nickel

However, there is opportunity for students to take on more than just donations.

Students may volunteer to load items on distribution day, with juniors and seniors given first priority when choosing volunteers. Potential volunteers can talk to Mrs. Cox now to get involved. There are also different fundraisers that students coordinate in order to contribute more goods to the cause, some of which are created by the students themselves.

“We have people doing things all the time, like collecting food outside of grocery stores or setting up boot drives and coat drives,” Nickel said. “We had a group of students last year who set up a pet food drive outside of Petsmart. There’s all kinds of things that we can do,” Nickel said. “If someone has an idea they can come see me and we can talk about what they want to do.”

The Adopt-a-Family event will take place on December 17, and donations will start in October after Cans around the Bo’val ends. Boxes will be placed in homeroom classrooms.