Intergenerational Pen Pal Program
The Pen Pal program fosters connections between seniors and elementary students. Participants learn from each other about a range of interesting topics. AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP volunteers, due to certain restrictions this year, will virtually connect with Bilingual and English Language Arts(ELA) elementary students, to engage in handwritten communication.
Intergenerational Program multi benefits:
- Improves the mental agility and socialization of senior participants
- Improves comprehension and creative thinking of students
- Enhances teachers’ curriculum
- Focuses on at-risk students including english language learners
- Supports HOSC’s Schools Programs which focus on improving academic performance in high-needs schools
- Supports AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP focus on K-12 Success
- Engages senior volunteers with outcomes
- Improves communication and socialization skills
Quotes from our Pen Pal Volunteers
“I tell my student Pen Pals that I am a senior citizen and that I enjoy exchanging letters with someone who is much younger than I am. I think it’s a great way to stay young and current. It’s important to me to try and constantly positively impact someone in some way and with this program and it’s a bonus that I receive so much in return.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Diane S.
“I feel that we can create a positive impact on our pen pals by being someone to whom they can communicate freely. We can tell stories about what has happened to us in our lifetime that may relate to what they are feeling or doing.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Janet P.
“I am enjoying the Pen Pal Program because besides the obvious exercise in writing (which is an all-but-lost art nowadays, I fear), it is providing both the students and the seniors with a sense of adventure.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Mary Ellen
“Thanks for making me aware of the Pen Pal program. Answering their questions is pushing me to remember my own children at that age, and sometimes, my own growing up in much different circumstances in southern Illinois. As their questions make me dream, and then compose what I hope will speak to them, so I hope that each of them enjoys this experience in developing their own voice.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Mary R.
“For me, the wonderful thing about the Pen Pal Program is the unique opportunity it presents for students to get a genuine boost to their self-esteem, in addition to the more academic benefits of improving literacy. We shine a light on an individual child in a way that no one else in their life can.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Sharon B.
“The Pen Pal program is an innovative way of bringing joy to both the young and the ‘older’. Reading the letters from the students give you a whole new perspective about what goes on in the mind and hearts of the young.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Judy L.
“From my perspective as a senior and volunteer, it is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the life of a young person. The time requirement is minimum and the payback is huge. No preparation is required.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Janet I.
“I’ve always wanted to have my volunteering focus on relating personally to little kids. But I wasn’t sure I was suited for tutoring. The Pen Pal program is perfect and I love engaging with my third grade pals. I’m learning from them as well, especially favorite food, music, and dance from their cultures.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Janet S.
“We are reinforcing the writing and language skills they are learning in school in a way that is fun. It is fascinating and gratifying to see the relationship growing as time passes. The hope is that we are helping each child to become more self-confident and trusting of adult relationships.” - AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Pen Pal Anne W.
For more information about Intergenerational Pen Pals contact:
Carolyn Roberts, Program Director