Making authentic connections is an essential part of a vibrant life. Those connections are even sweeter when they span across generations. In 2016, we were pleased to be part of a pen pal club with a nearby school.
Over the course of several months, several Independent Living and Assisted Living residents and student pen pals wrote back and forth, sharing secrets and stories, jokes and day-to-day correspondence. As you read the letters, they are polite, they are curious, and most of all, they are encouraging.
This week was the Great Reveal, as the residents and students came together to meet each other in person for the first time. This was cause for celebration, and the day featured a pizza party, hugs, crafts, and a friendly game of Bingo. Before we knew it, the afternoon drew to a close, but the smiles did not end. Here are a few of the comments from the students:
“My pen pal told me that she felt ten times younger and in my heart I felt that she really did feel 10 times younger yesterday. Our visit wasn’t really what I expected. My pen pal might be different, but it doesn’t mean she is an alien. She is a human like the rest of us.”
“Seeing a smile on her face made me know she was very happy. My favorite part of the day was playing Bingo and eating cookies.”
“Visiting Summer’s Landing was super awesome. Eating lunch and making a craft with my pen pal was the best part of the day.”
“I was kind of sad that we could not have more time together, but I know what I am doing this summer. I will be visiting my pen pal!”
“I really enjoyed meeting my pen pal. When I first got there, I was like “Whoa!” As soon as I sat next to her, I knew she was going to be sweet. We talked and had pizza. When we did the craft, it was fun. I traced her hand and my own hand. My favorite part of the day was playing Bingo. When we played and didn’t make a Bingo, she said, “Oh rats!” We both laughed. Yesterday was the best day of my life.”
“Meeting my pen pal was the happiest time of my life. We had so much in common. We both ate pepperoni pizza. My pen pal gave me a kiss on the neck. I loved meeting my pen pal.”
“The most fun part was the poem for our teacher and the craft. When me and my pen pal played Irish Bingo, our whole table got all the cards flipped over and we all lost. We have a lot in common. We like art, coloring, painting each other’s nails. Overall, I had a blast and I hope I get to do that again.”
“It was an exciting day to meet my pen pal. On the way there, I had butterflies in my stomach, but as soon as we got there, the butterflies flew away.”