leading with heart: Mary bernal bigley

leading with heart: Mary bernal bigley

While we often hear the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, the fast-paced and fractured nature of society has in recent times seemed to rendered the concept far from reach. However, when crisis and upheaval in the lives of young people in regards to dilemmas and disappointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that proverb was put into incredible effect by concerned and caring adults, who created Facebook groups called “Adopt a Senior”, which allowed for the profiles and stories of 2020 high school seniors to be posted in order for them to be selected by those wanting to show honor and support to those students whose final year high school had come to a jarring end. The reaction from group members was astounding, with hundreds of seniors being adopted almost as soon as they profiles were posted. The groups showed what a positive difference opening up hearts to others can make, and that the best interests and success of young people are something everyone can be part of, a true village in action.

Mary Bernal Bigley first learned about the Adopt a Senior Bryan/College Station Edition group because her own granddaughter Madison was a senior in the 2020 Class of Bryan High School. Reading what she found to be awesome stories about the students, Mary first decided to adopt one senior, but then after reading all the profiles in the group, took on another. Then another. And another. Mary ultimately ended up adopting a whooping TWELVE 2020 seniors, two who she already personally knew, the other ten complete strangers. Mary made initial contact with the adoptees online, then assembled care packages for each of them containing books, puzzles, gift cards, tumblers, snacks, and personalized t-shirts, which she delivered in person. One of the greatest rewards Mary found was seeing the smiles of the faces of those seniors when she met and presented them with their packages, knowing that she had done her part to make something good happen out of a bad situation. Mary has since stayed in touch with those she adopted, as well as sharing information about the group to that others too can take part in making a difference in the lives of young people. She says that meeting those kids has been a great way of making strangers into friends, and hopes that such efforts that bring people closer together continue to happen.

What Mary has done in going above and beyond to encourage and support such a large number of senior high school students is in itself incredible and highly admirable. The example she set shows that when we open our hearts and embrace one another in uplifting and supporting one another, especially children, allows for betterment of the entire community. Mary didn’t have to do what she did, but because of her caring, kindness, and love, the village is closer and stronger. That is something we all should aim to follow and practice now and into the future, with the realization that every child is our own, all for one, one for all. It takes a village, and Mary Bernal Bigley is a bright and shining light illuminating its best membership.

Source: Brazos Reporter

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