GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A pen pal program between senior citizens and high school students, is creating connections in a coronavirus climate.
“You can always have room for another person in your life,” said Dolores Angevine, a resident at The Commons of Hilltop, “It’ll be interesting to find out more about her.”
Dolores has been participating in a pen pal program with local high school students.
“I thought, if she was willing to write to old people, it would be nice of me to write back to her and get acquainted with her,” said Dolores.
“I think what the kids are learning most of all is that there really isn’t that much of a difference between the generations,” said Lori Alpino-Holloway, the Grand Junction High School teacher and sponsor for the National Honors Society who started the program.
“On Wednesday, I go to the post office, I pick up the mail and then I sort it out and then I come to The Commons and I drop off the letters,” said Lori, “And then I pick up any letters that might be waiting here for the students and if there are letters for the students, then I go home and take a picture of them and I send them to the students electronically.”
Some of the letters include artwork or photos, while some stick to jokes and stories.
“She wrote and told me where she was from and how her family liked Ohio State football,” said Dolores, “And so when I write back I’ll tell her I like the Broncos.”
The program is creating unexpected friendships.
“People are people and age is just a number and they’re building relationships that I hope last well beyond the conclusion of this project.” said Lori.
This, at a time when human connection is limited due to a pandemic.
“It’s a little deviation from being kind of locked up,” said Dolores, “So many of them don’t do any activities so they’re just stuck in their rooms.”
“I’m hoping that this is one little thing that they can look forward to in their day to kind of break the routine and the monotony of being on their own,” said Lori.
The program comes highly recommended by Dolores.
“If they got involved, they might find out that they enjoy it,” said Dolores, “Gives them a little outlet, something to think about besides their own worries.”
Many of the residents and students are interested in physically meeting their pen pals one day. Lori said she’s looking into organizing an ice cream social in the future, as safety is a main concern.