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How the Greater NYC Spartans Found Hope

  • Author:

    Claire Kuhn

  • Published:

    March. 3, 2021

Amidst these most trying of times, like many New Yorkers, the Greater NYC Spartans found hope and positivity through service.

2020 was not kind to the Greater NYC Spartans. As COVID-19 began to sweep through our city in early March it left behind a wake of devastation, loss and uncertainty over the future. Amidst these most trying of times, like many New Yorkers, the Greater NYC Spartans found hope and positivity through recommitting to our #SpartansServe mission. Our local Spartan family served on the frontlines of the pandemic as hotel directors, nurse managers and educators and we are so thankful for their unwavering dedication to keeping our city running.

As the city was shutting down, our thoughts immediately turned to our senior citizen friends at Terrence Cardinal Cooke Health Care center. We had collaborated with the group on past service projects where we’ve made holiday cards and have volunteered as chaperones so that seniors could join us for accessible Big Ten Game watches. Given that this group is very social, our community service team was determined to find a way that we could still connect in a world where face to face visits were no longer allowed and senior isolation was increasing by the minute.

Serendipitously, we were then contacted by a local alumna, Cathy Daniel, who is heavily involved with the organization Glamour Gals. In non-COVID times, Glamour Gals empowers local high school leaders to provide manicures, makeovers and companionship to seniors in nursing homes. Glamour Gals was able to almost immediately pivot their in-person efforts into the #MyDearFriend letter writing campaign, which the Greater NYC Spartans immediately got on board with.

The initiative is simple: write a kind note to a senior that begins with the words "My Dear Friend" and "Glamour Gals" will ensure it makes its way to a senior that could use some cheering up. We hit the ground running with our effort and set a goal of writing 300 letters as an homage to the 300 Spartans who, against all odds, rose up to win the Battle of Thermopylae. Through our Global Day of Service letter writing event, a few letter-writing happy hours and the personal efforts of local alumni we have currently sent 274 kind letters to isolated seniors.

Claire Kuhn holding cards

Claire Kuhn, Greater NYC Spartans

We are so thankful that Glamour Gals has provided us with an avenue to make a difference in this new virtual world.

It’s extremely touching to be able to honor our friends at Terrance Cardinal Cooke Health Care center by spreading joy to isolated seniors across the country. Pandemic or not, the Greater NYC Spartans are determined to serve.


Claire was born and raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan and graduated from MSU in 2013 with a BA in Marketing, specializing in International Business and minoring in German. Because four years wasn’t enough time on the banks of the Red Cedar, she returned to MSU to complete a MS in Marketing Research in 2014.