Yearlong pen-pals enjoy meeting face to face
For the past year, fifth graders from the Edward Everett School in Dorchester have been exchanging letters with their JCHE pen-pals. Today, at a special goodbye lunch, they had the chance to meet one another with open arms.
For anyone who wonders how just one letter each month builds a relationship, the warmth that flowed among penpals today proved that the connections could run deep. The chatter and laughter that filled the room was a reflection of the high comfort level that these ten year olds and their eighty-something partners enjoyed.
There were puzzles to solve and a delicious lunch to share. In addition, the group formed a circle. Each participant was asked to say what he/she had enjoyed about the pen-pal program. The comments were endearing. Natalie Lictenstein noted her pen-pal Henry's great sense of humor, while Henry appreciated the opportunity to use the correspondence to seek Natalie's advice. It was clear that the gains from these relationships were mutual. Sheila Goldstein thanked her penpal Jhoanna for the encouragement she had offered her through the year to take swim lessons.
As each participant responded, he/she grabbed a piece of yarn. After everyone had spoken, the yarn formed a large web connecting the circle of penpals. Jessica Hamermesh, JCHE's Director of Generations Together,told the group that the web symbolized the relationships that had been established and the new friendships that had been formed.