High school students write letters to adults with special needs during COVID-19 isolation

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — High school students on Hilton Head Island are working to make self-isolation a little easier for adults with disabilities.

Brooke Simons, a Hilton Head Island High School senior, is the president of Project Unify — a club that pairs students up with adults with special needs from an organization called Pockets Full of Sunshine.

Pockets Full of Sunshine’s goal is to make the Lowcountry a sunnier place by providing inclusive social and vocational opportunities for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Usually, the two groups meet up on the weekends, but since health officials urge against large gatherings, Brooke decided to write letters to the “Rays” of Sunshine, or adults with special needs, to help them feel a little less isolated.

“Other people, you put them first. You make sure everybody feels like they have somebody. And you’re staying positive and you’re making sure that they’re not feeling alone,” Hilton Head Island High School Project Unify President Brooke Simon said.

“And I think we’re always wanting to do more and see how we can help other people,” she added. “But obviously we’re not done and we’re going to keep trying to spread positivity everywhere, in school and outside of school.”

Sally Bartholomew is one of the Rays. Her mother Carol Bartholomew, a co-founder of Pockets Full of Sunshine, says her daughter loves getting the letters each day and helps her feel like a part of the community.

“I think this is a perfect example of kindness, of small acts of kindness,” Carol Bartholomew said. “And it’s all lead and initiated by young people. Those are the beautiful, amazing things that come out of hardship.”

Each Ray gets three to 10 cards each day from a member of Project Unify.

“I love the art and I also love the people,” Ray of Sunshine Jeremy Hall said. “Some of them are my contacts, my brothers, and I feel like this whole entire thing is like having a big family.”

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