I have a pen pal!
Last fall, I volunteered to be part of the Promising Pals program through the Scott/Ross Center for Community Service at Simmons. For months, I received bright yellow postcards indicating that the program was underway, that the students were very excited, that the first letter would be arriving soon, etc. The program was delayed a little because of all the snow days, but last week I finally received my first letter. My correspondent (pen pal!) is a sixth-grade student at the James P. Timilty School in Roxbury, and she has handwriting so exceedingly neat that it puts mine to shame.
I like writing (and receiving) letters – real, paper letters, not e-mail – but I underestimated how exciting this program would be. More precisely, I forgot how enthusiastic sixth-graders can be, and how that enthusiasm can be contagious. It’s not just letter-writing; it’s getting to know someone who would otherwise be a stranger, and getting to know that person through that antiquated medium of pen and paper (not the internet!). We’re different ages – different generations, eek! I actually wrote letters in grade school because e-mail didn’t yet exist on the scale it does now – we have different backgrounds and different interests, but we have been randomly connected. The main purpose of the program may be “to highlight literacy and mentoring,” but what a cool way to do that – by reading the same book and discussing it, in handwritten letters.