Friendship Circle Puts Sunshine in Mailboxes with ‘Postcards from Pals’

It’s a great feeling to open your mailbox and find a sunny and heartfelt letter inside, written just for you. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families feeling isolated. That’s why Friendship Circle looked to its mission of friendship and inclusion and came up with a new way to show families that we care and are thinking of them.  

Postcards from Pals is a pen pal program open to Friendship Circle families across the country. Kids, teens and adults with special needs are paired with a volunteer who is 18+ to send them friendly and uplifting letters in the mail. 

“We wanted to find a way to reach these families and show them that we’re still thinking about them and want to engage with them,” said Karrah Wanagat, virtual programming coordinator at Friendship Circle. 

Letters are already going out all over the country. Participants and families are encouraged to write back to their penpals, but even if they don’t, volunteers will still send a letter each month. 

“Volunteers decorate their letters to be a bright light of sunshine coming through their mailboxes.” 

 

Program participant Rachel Day, who lives in Maryland, was so excited to find the first letter from her pen pal waiting for her in the mailbox.

“When I asked Rachel about the program she said ‘I love it’. She said she loves getting letters from Haley,” says Debbie Day, Rachel’s mom. “Rachel got a letter from Haley this week. As soon as she got it from our mailman she wrote Haley back.” 

There are many benefits of having a pen pal for individuals with special needs. Pen pals can give motivation for practicing communication skills and reading. They can also help introduce new interests, places and cultures. Getting a pen pal can also be the start of a lasting friendship.

“[Rachel] is very excited to be getting mail. I’m happy to see her writing.” 

Participants of any age can sign up here. Families can fill out a form with their interests, age and where they live. Siblings and parents can also sign up to get a pen pal for a little bit of sunshine coming their way.

To volunteer for Postcards from Pals, please contact Karrah Wanagat at [email protected]

For media inquiries, please contact Melanie Barnett at [email protected].

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