Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2018

Pen pals finally meet

Seniors correspond with fourth-graders
By Courtesy of John Miller | Jun 19, 2018
Alice Shafar, right, plays a game with her pen pal, Branna.

A group of senior citizens has been communicating with elementary students “the old-fashioned way,” with pen and paper.

Members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program partook of a pen pal program with students from Kari Fitzsimmons’s fourth-grade class at Pence Elementary School. The seniors and youngsters have been writing back and forth by hand since October. On June 1, they finally got to meet each other in person.

“I wonder what he/she looks like” was a common question on everyone’s mind. Once united, the two groups enjoyed each other’s company by making art projects together and playing games.


Everything by hand

RSVP coordinator John Miller said the students and seniors wrote their letters in either cursive or print.

“In our computer age, this revives a dwindling practice of writing by hand, which slows the mind, allowing one to carefully choose the words that one is writing,” he said.

Senior participant Doris Slocombe said the program was a shining success.

“It was a fun experience to see what the kids wrote and very special to meet them,” she said. “Let’s do it again!”

Senior pen pal Cathleen Casey said that she had a “great time with the kids” and hopes that she can continue with the letter exchange this summer. The writing may continue over the summer if a student’s parents permit it.

Three other senior participants, Eileen Coffin, Sam Farling, and Alice Shafar, agreed that it was very special to be able to meet their students and share some stories back and forth.

Fitzsimmons added, “My students just said they had so much fun! They loved writing and receiving their letters.”

Miller mentioned that one positive side effect of the program is that it builds intergenerational relationships beneficial to both students and seniors.


Program coming back

The program will resume next school year with another class, since it was so well received. Anyone interested in this or other opportunities for seniors can call Miller at 919-4242 or email him at j.miller@wapellocouw.org.


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