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These South Forsyth High School students continue to send letters to senior centers over a year into pandemic
BETA club
South Forsyth High School BETA club member Maya Muniganti delivers letters written by fellow students to residents at Addington Place of Johns Creek. Photo courtesy of the South Forsyth BETA club.

The students in South Forsyth High School’s Beta Club realized by September last year that the COVID-19 pandemic would not be ending anytime soon.

That was when they realized they needed to be doing something to help in their community. Feeling the loneliness and isolation that comes with quarantine, they immediately knew the impact they could have with some simple compassion during such a difficult time.

So Maya Muniganti, an officer with the SFHS beta club, said they began by writing letters to send to senior centers in the county.

They had seen the headlines in the news and photos of seniors only being able to talk to friends and family online through Zoom or FaceTime or through the glass panes of a window.

“The senior citizens in our local community have experienced many events in their life, but no one would have thought that one day they would have to be isolated from their families because of a pandemic,” Muniganti said.

The students hoped sending hand-written letters would help to raise their spirits and remind them that, even though they may not be able to see their families, their community is thinking of them.

After sending the first round of letters, Muniganti said she couldn’t believe the response from the care center residents and administrators. They were beyond excited to receive the letters, and the administrators and nurses encouraged the students to keep sending more.

“There is no experience more rewarding than knowing that we were able to touch their hearts and brighten up their day,” Muniganti said.

Knowing the impact the letters had, the students continued writing and sending cards to long-term care facilities in Forsyth County and beyond. Thanks to their efforts over the rest of the year, they collected more than 1,000 cards.

These cards went to 11 different centers and facilities:

●     Addington Place of Johns Creek

●     Cumming Senior Center

●     Phoenix Senior Center

●     Ashwood Meadows

●     Gardens of Shiloh Point

●     Magnolia Senior Living

●     Oaks Senior Living

●     Sandy Springs Place

●     The Phoenix at Milton

●     Sunrise Senior Center

●     Agape Hospice Care

While dropping off the letters at each of the centers, Muniganti said she and the other students got to know the facilities and their residents more. She talked with activities managers and directors at each of them, and she quickly realized she wanted to continue the Beta Club’s relationship with them.

Knowing what they do now, the students understand that while the pandemic has been more difficult on care center residents, that feeling of isolation and loneliness was there for many of them even before the pandemic.

“The pandemic may have been one reason for which the card writing started, but I really want this tradition to continue with not just our school, but other schools in Forsyth County because there is never enough love we can show our seniors,” Muniganti said.

Looking forward to when care facilities open up to visitors more, the Beta Club wants to eventually visit some of the facilities to meet and talk with residents.

“Let this act of respecting and honoring senior citizens be ingrained in each one of us,” Muniganti said.