FERGUS – Being able to work and connect with people virtually has been a boon to those with a little computer savvy, but a trial for those without.
Enter the Community Resource Centre in Fergus, which hopes to initiate some inspiring connections through its “Sending Support” pen pal project.
“We’ve all had to operate differently with the pandemic,” said Sarah Keating, a childcare teacher with the resource centre and coordinator of the project.
The internet has allowed many people to maintain their social connections, but those who are isolated, “that’s really enhanced with COVID-19,” she said.
“With the pen pal project, we hope to cultivate meaningful relationships that are safe and connect people in different stages of life.”
So, she’s looking for participants – from children to high schoolers to those in mid-life to seniors.
“It requires no technology. You write and receive actual physical letters. Letter-writing is almost a lost art,” she said.
“We think the seniors will enjoy it.”
The resource centre has received some funding from the Centre Wellington Community Foundation, so all stationery and postage is covered.
“What we need are participants to write at least once a month,” she said.
Participants will be asked a bit about their personal interests and if they’d prefer a pen pal their own age or a different age.
They will also be asked to contribute to the travelling journal, which is a project of Historica Canada, which is looking to document Canadian experiences during the pandemic.
“It could be a snapshot or a written entry,” Keating said.
“It’s a way to be part of something bigger.”
The journal, once completed, will be sent to Historica Canada to be displayed on its website and archived for posterity.
Participants don’t have to take part in both projects, Keating said.
She noted she has had a pen pal for many years and hopes this project can spark some lasting friendships.
“We don’t know how long this pandemic will last,” she said.
“Letters are accessible to everyone and they are something to look forward to. I love getting snail mail.
“But they are also a piece of history – a little something to hold on to.”
Anyone interested in the project can email Keating at email@example.com.