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Intergenerational Pen-Pal Program Fosters Unlikely Friendships

by Published On: Aug 30, 2012
United Church Homes PenPals

Last September, Andrea Bluhm’s third-grade class in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, needed to learn how to write friendly letters. Instead of another boring lesson plan, Bluhm, 29, called Ann Gibson, director of activities at the United Church Homes campus to generate some creative solutions. Out of this initial conversation, a year-long pen-pal program was born.

“They wrote back and forth at least once a month,” says Bluhm. In their letters, the 23 students from Union Elementary School asked Fairhaven residents questions and shared the details of their lives: school field trips, visits to relatives, soccer games. After months of correspondence, the pen-pals had the opportunity to meet in person at a handbell concert in February, and then again at a pizza party later in the year.

The pen-pal program was well-received by both students and older adults. In fact, many of the pen-pals developed friendships that outlasted the school year and a few still keep in touch.

Bluhm and Gibson are already making plans to continue the project with a new crop of third-graders this year.

For more information, read the full article from United Church Homes.


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