Pen Pal Program Shares the Joy of Getting Mail

Blog_Kate-Siess-300x200Kate Siess ’14 is a Civic Engagement Scholar and a member of the Women’s Tennis team.

Last year I got an adorable letter in the mail from a third grade boy asking if he could be my pen pal. My mother is a third grade teacher, and when her student asked if he could have a pen pal, she suggested that he write to me. I wrote back to him every week and always looked forward to getting a letter from him. I also liked sharing my letter with friends.

This inspired me to start a pen pal program at Oglethorpe. During Fall 2011, I started a pen pal program between 10 Oglethorpe students and 10 PATH Academy students.  PATH (which stands for Perseverance, Accomplishment, Triumph, and Honor) is located directly behind Greek Row on Hermance Drive and serves 280 students from fifth through eighth grades.

The goal of the program is to provide the middle school students with a fun way to practice reading and writing, and for Oglethorpe students to make a connection and have their day brightened by a hand written letter from their pen pal.  This semester, I added more pen pals, so now we have 21 Oglethorpe students writing to 21 PATH students on a weekly basis.

Pen pal Julia Fukuda made a box for her pen pal to keep her letters in each week.

At the end of the semester, we will have another “Pen Pal Party” where we will meet our pen pals over food and games before the summer break. The pen pal program has been a great success for both student populations.  Every week, more students at PATH Academy ask if they can join the program.  And Oglethorpe students often share with me how adorable their letters are. I hope to continue this program in the years to come! After all, in this technologically advanced world, who doesn’t love getting a hand-written letter once a week?

PATH Academy is a Dekalb County charter school and one of Oglethorpe’s education partners. Although the spring 2012 pen pal program is full, we have other volunteer opportunities and needs throughout the week available at PATH. Please contact Peyton Healy in the Center for Civic Engagement or for more information about volunteering.