Image: Shelby Thom/Global News
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of social isolation have been challenging for seniors across British Columbia. In efforts to create connection and community, amid public health restrictions, independent living home, Charles Manor has teamed up with local KVR Middle School to pilot a pen-pal program.
The initiative, which was originally featured by Global News matched 50 Grade 6 students with seniors. The pairs have since exchanged letters and Christmas cards and the initiative is expected to continue for the duration of the school year.
“It makes me really happy to hear them being happy to receive letters because I know it’s been really hard for them being stuck inside and not being able to see their family,” said student Madelyn Meashaw in an interview with Global News.
The pilot project is a spinoff of a wider civic initiative to help Penticton become more age-friendly.
“There are not many opportunities for our students to get out there and connect, so to have the opportunity to do it virtually was such a great idea,” said KVR Middle School principal Steve DeVito, speaking to Global News.
While both seniors and students look forward to life returning to normal, the initiative is working to connect generations while we must stay physically apart.