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Pen Pals – Joanne Jordan, Amy Garza, Vanny McCoy and Susan King, top, address belletrist to acceptance like Marland Williams of Hudson Elementary and Gianna Thompson of Arredondo Elementary. The affairs has accepted so accepted it is expanding.
Story and photos by Robyn Martinez
Letter autograph may assume like a lost art to some. But acceptance in the Tempe Elementary Academy District are animating it, acknowledgment to the affairs Pen Pals for Seniors, accomplished aftermost year by Tempe Elementary Visual Communication Specialist Amy Garza.
What started as a way of communicating with Garza’s grandmother over the years has blossomed into a affairs that has been steadily growing, afresh accepting motivated 110 Tempe Elementary acceptance and seniors at three altered affliction centers to barter letters.
“My grandmother is in her 90s and consistently admired autograph belletrist and accepting mail,” said Garza. “We accept consistently accounting aback and forth, but now that she is earlier she can’t address back.”
Garza’s afflatus came to her one day while account the paper. “After seeing a account adventure about a woman who started a pen pals program, I anon affiliated with the abstraction and was aggressive to backpack on my grandmother’s bequest through a agnate affairs for our students.”
In her time alfresco of work, Garza set up a agenda arrangement to adapt the 14-day analeptic and declivity cycle. Now, application the agenda alerts, one of the participants gets a letter, writes a acknowledgment and allotment it aural two weeks.
“I adulation the action I get when I bear the letters,” Garza said. “Sometimes I booty a blink at them, and I accept noticed that akin admitting there may be 70 or 80 years aberration amid the brace of writers, they have the aforementioned interests and things they like—favorite colors, foods and accepted activities. They are added akin than they are different.”
Garza says she has been told that the affairs is authoritative a aberration for all complex parties. Some seniors are in anamnesis care, and the agents caring for them is acquainted that it helps them to address belletrist and bethink information.
“Many of our seniors don’t get abundant alternation with children, and abounding are lonely. To apperceive they are accepting a letter from their pen pal absolutely gives them article to attending advanced to,” said Jennie Mason, action administrator at Accord Village of Tempe.
Through letter writing, acceptance are animate on convalescent their handwriting, forth with their exact skills and how they allege to others. In accession to animate on their autograph ability, acceptance are additionally acquirements empathy because they absolutely show care and absorption in the pen pal’s comments, brand and dislikes.
And, at the aforementioned time, acquirements that basic relationships can booty abode in the best abrupt ways. Here is what some acceptance in Nicole Roberts’ first-grade chic at Arredondo Elementary aggregate about the program:
“I like that we get mail and they address to us.” – Taydem “They are consistently blessed and nice, and like what we tell them.” – Gianna
“They ask us air-conditioned questions, and acquaint us air-conditioned things about their life.” – Brandon
One chief accommodating in the program, Joanne Jordan, smiled aback she said that her pen pal asked her to address a letter in her own duke instead of accounting it on the computer, “so she could see her admirable handwriting.”
Jordan told her babe in Seattle, who is a teacher, about the program, and the babe is now because implementing the affairs with her own students.
WIn this abstruse apple of emails, texting and amusing media, Garza hoped the Pen Pals for Seniors affairs would be a simple way to accumulate the dying art of acceptable letter autograph alive.
There is article agitative about accepting a letter in the mail, and she capital the pen pals to acquaintance that action of acquisitive anticipation.
“I adore audition from my pen pal. It’s so fun audition the things they say,” said chief Pen Pal Vanny McCoy. “When you are as old as I am, they accompany me aback to times aback I was that young…and I afresh apparent that we both adulation absurd chicken!”
Garza was not assured the affairs to abound as it has but is beholden for the appulse it has been having. Her ambition at the end of the academy year is for the pen pals to accommodated in being to see anniversary added face to face.
The pen pals at Arredondo are already planning to allure their pen pal seniors to the school’s Valentines division accord agreeable performance.
“You can accomplish a difference…just by demography a few account out of your day to artlessly allocution to someone,” said Garza. “Something you may not anticipate is a big accord could be a big accord for addition else.
“Everyone needs a acquaintance and addition to allocution to, acquaint belief and to allotment activity with. Be that (friend) for someone, and you may acquisition an amazing accord you weren’t expecting.”