Helping Children Experience the Joy of Communication With Someone Who Cares
Under the direction of Katie Watson, behavioral specialist at Beatty Early Learning Center, our penpal program connects volunteers, one-on-one, with a preschool child to exchange letters, drawings and other cool stuff each week. This program helps to give value to handwritten letters, emphasizing the connection between literacy and relationships, while encouraging children to set aside their screens. Penpals encourage language development, the practice of writing, and recognition of letters, as well as inspiring imagination, creativity and self-confidence.
To know that there is someone “out there” who cares, someone who takes the time every week to share stories, to ask questions, to offer encouragement and affection, to notice, and just to be there, often means more to a three or four year old child than can be imagined. Many underserved children do not connect enough with adults outside the family to reinforce them, validate them, bring new experiences, and encourage the development of a healthy and strong self-image. We see kids light up with news that their letter has arrived, excited to hear them read by their teachers and to respond in their own way. That moment of connection becomes joyful.