We have all been doing our best to stay physically distanced and stay connected, but this can be challenging. We at Synergy have created a Grand-Letters program to create new social connections between the two groups that people tend to falsely assume have the least in common; youth and seniors. When these two populations are paired, they can have a lot of fun and learn a lot from one another. The Grand-Letters Program connects them with the goal of doing just that, creating reciprocal mentorship between the two generations.
Grand-Letters is a pen-pal program that is currently being facilitated through email but will hopefully shift into hand-written letter writing once we can safely do so. We at Synergy began the program with our SHOUT Girls, a year-round structured support circle for girls ages 10-12, at the beginning of June this year. The girls were matched with ladies from around the community who are 55+ by reaching out to local groups such as the Chestermere Whitecappers and the Langdon Old Kids Club, as well as through informal community connections. Once matched by a Program Facilitator at Synergy, the paired pen-pals are provided with their email addresses and they exchange one letter a week.
As we hoped, the program has really taken off and has become an enjoyable part of both the girls’ and ladies’ weeks. Friendships are being formed across generations, creating new ideas and a new layer of social support for participants. One of our Grand-Lady’s describes her experience, “I am really enjoying the exchanges I am having with my pen pal, and am pleased to hear that some of the older hobbies I have, like cross-stitch and sewing, are being passed down to younger generations.” Another Grand-Lady described the emails to be “a breath of fresh air in her week” and she has quickly come to look forward to them. Synergy’s SHOUT Girls are having similar reactions to their email-exchanges, with nearly all of them exclaiming how “fun, sweet, and kind” their pen-pals are, and many are eager to “meet them soon!”
If this program interests you, or if you know some ladies who are 55+ that would like to be matched with a pen-pal, please contact Synergy’ Program Facilitator, Ashi, -through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still a few girls who are awaiting a Grand-Lady and would be overjoyed to create a new friendship. As the program grows, we hope our sense of community will grow exponentially and create irreplaceable connections.