Mrs. Massengale, FMS Student Council sponsor, began the Pen Pal program four years ago as a way to encourage students young and old to enjoy writing. Each student council member is paired with one or two kindergarten students based on common interests, and the students exchange short letters once a week.
“My students know when that red bag arrives that their Pen Pal’s letter is inside,” Mrs. Forrester said. “They get so excited and want to drop everything they’re doing and write back immediately.”
Mrs. Forrester says the relationship that forms between the students is just as important as the writing skills they develop.
“This generation really needs the support that comes from knowing someone cares,” Mrs. Forrester said. “Just the fact that someone else is interested in their life, takes time to see them, works on projects and talks to them means a lot.”
The mentors get to do more than simply write one letter a week. They also have the opportunity to spend time with their Pen Pal. They work on crafts, read together, and enjoy a good snack. Just before Easter, they set up a very special Easter egg hunt. The mentors hid eggs with letters painted on them that spelled out “Happy Easter.” Then, they helped their Pen Pal collect the eggs they needed to spell the words. Seventh grade student Taiya Henderson said it is activities like the Easter egg hunt that she enjoys the most.
“I really like hanging out with the little kids,” Taiya said. “I also like writing them and asking them what they want to be when they grow up. I like to encourage them to follow their dreams.”