RSVP Pen Pal Program completes 18th year
The Coles County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program has several “feel good” programs of which we are proud and have been involved with for many years: the Pen Pal Program is one of those!
The RSVP Pen Pal Program began in 1994 and recently completed its 18th year of involvement. Students from an elementary school are matched with a senior volunteer, and their pen pal exchanges continue for the duration of the school year.
Students have the opportunity to meet their senior pen pal during an initial party, usually held at the school. It’s a fun event filled with refreshments, games, excitement and of course, lots of smiling faces as children get to meet a new friend.
Throughout the school year our senior volunteer will write a monthly letter to his or her new friend. the student will write back and sometimes has the opportunity to share the received letter with the class. According to the teacher’s plan, sometimes the child is graded on his or her letter.
This is a great opportunity to practice what many are considering the “lost art” of letter writing. Happily, the teachers this year reported that the students had greatly improved their writing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and expressed enthusiasm with writing assignments.
In an era filled with internet, cell phones and Facebook, many young people are unfamiliar with writing and rarely receive “snail mail.”
This is a great opportunity to learn letter writing and more importantly, to make a new friend.
At the end of the school year, RSVP hosts an end of the year party, where Pen Pals may say goodbye to one another and celebrate with each other. as saying goodbye is never easy, many of the students and volunteers make plans to stay in touch!
At your LifeSpan Center, we strive to include intergenerational events at every opportunity, and the pen pal program happens to be one of our favorites.
We would like to thank all of those who were part of this year’s program including our newcomers, St. John’s Lutheran fifth grade class, under the direction of teachers Larry and Nancy Maxedon. We continue to work with Carl Sandburg’s third grade class, under the direction of teacher Kathy Miller, a relationship that began in 1994.
Teachers play a big role with this program; with a curriculum that is already busy, they graciously have adopted ours. We couldn’t be successful without their help and support.
If you are a senior and are interested in being a part of this very worthwhile program, please call the Coles County RSVP offices at 639-5155. We are looking forward to next fall as we plan to to meet new and old friends, once again!
The Coles County Council on Aging offices are located at the LifeSpan Center, 11021 E. County Road 800N, Charleston. the telephone number is 639-5150 for the Coles County Council on Aging and LifeSpan Center. the telephone numbers for the programs are: Coles County RSVP, 639-5165, Telecare 639-5166; TRIP 639-5167, Family Care Giver Resource Center 639-5168 and Dial A Ride 639-5169 or 1-800-500-5505.
The Coles County Council on Aging, a local charity since 1974, sponsors the local Coles County RSVP program. the RSVP program receives funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service, Illinois Department on Aging, and the United Way of Coles County. www.colescouncilonaging.org.