Pen Pals with WIT Program

Pen Pals

Letters Trellis joined the Winchester Intergenerational Team to support a Pen Pals program between Middle School students and seniors from the Jenks Center. The WIT is supported by a grant from the Cummings Foundation. The Winchester Council on Aging hosted and supports this program.

Seniors met monthly in person at the Jenks Center, wrote letters and talked about their evolving pen pal relationships.

February kicked off with the first letters from the seniors to the students, and in following sessions the seniors had received letters from the Middle School students.

In March the seniors were impressed with the first exchange of letters. They were impressed with the quality and content of the letters from young people who seemed to be very mature and responsive.

From an initial sense of admiration for the talents of their pen pals and/or surprise about the student’s immediate openness, the seniors noted in April how each match seems to connect with aspects of each other’s lives.

Once again in May we shared experiences and comments about the connections and “conversations” they were having. In addition, we had a lengthy discussion about “fitting in”, following a recognition of times we might have felt uncomfortable with our connection to a social group, based on our backgrounds. The group has grown in trust with each other based on their sharing of themselves in relation to their pen pal.

The pen pals met at the Jenks Center to see each other in person. Several pen pal correspondents plan to continue to connect following this initial introduction through letters and the participants hope we will continue this program next year.

We have enjoyed facilitation the excitement of meeting someone new via a pen and paper friendship.