Helping Hands: Pen pal program puts two generations in touch

July 31, 2013 

Andrea Puzycki

Getting a letter in the mail is perhaps one of life’s simplest joys. In a world of junk mail and bills, an actual letter from an actual person arriving in the mail thrills us. Even tried and true texters and emailers have to open a real letter right away and see what’s inside.

The Nexus Pen Pal Program allows Centre County adults to receive not one but seven letters in the mail every school year. Right now we are recruiting 100 new pen pals to join the more than 300 adults returning for another year of writing.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Pen Pals project will begin its 12th year with many pen pals celebrating more than a decade of participation. Unless something changes in their lives, like graduation from a degree program, moving for a job, taking care of a new grandchild or caring for a sick loved one, most adult pen pals stay with the program they love.

What adults love most is the children to whom they write. Mentoring a child by writing letters and then getting to meet that child at a Bald Eagle Area School District elementary school in May is well worth the time commitment of 10-12 hours per school year.

If you decide to become a pen pal we can guarantee you seven opportunities to read about the adventures of a child and to share your own adventures in return. If, in the process, you get in touch with a new generation and encourage the future of a child, well that’s the magic part.

In BEASD, mastering the basic skills of reading and writing continues to be a major focus area in elementary education. When you write to a child, your letters become seven real-life opportunities for practicing those skills with an audience. When you meet the child, you add interpersonal skill development to the equation. Gaining confidence with these skills leads to success, and success inspires dreams for a bright future.

One adult pen pal wrote, “This is the most gratifying volunteering I have ever done. ... I feel very lucky and grateful to have been a part of [this program].”

Could you be a pen pal? Please contact us today.

If our program intrigues you, but you are not a letter writer, other pen pal related opportunities include data entry (summer/fall), emailing (monthly), preparing assignments (fall) and prepping packets (spring).

A financial contribution to our program is another way to lend a helping hand. Contact RSVP’s Nexus Pen Pal Program at 355-6816, email ampuzycki@centrecountypa.gov or send mail to RSVP, 420 Holmes St., Room 339, Bellefonte, PA 16823.

Andrea Puzycki is the RSVP Pen Pal coordinator for the Centre County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

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