In our increasingly isolating world of COVID-19, it is important for us to recognize the power of a simple letter. The Montérégie West Community Network (MWCN) has partnered with the Heritage Treasures Museum, located in Howick, to create an intergenerational pen pal program. We have asked 15 seniors from the Howick and Huntingdon areas to participate in conjunction with Franklin Elementary School students in the grade 5/6 class. The program began in October 2020 and will continue until March 2021, we have had to adjust the program to comply with COVID-19 regulations and worries. All things considered, the program has been a great success, the students have enjoyed the novel experience of receiving a letter and making a new friend. For the seniors it has been a time of reflection, reminiscing about their own youthful traditions and sharing knowledge from a time gone by.
April Donnelly – One of the seniors from Huntingdon, participating in the pen pal program. (Photo MWCN)
Some of the formal suggested topics included: Halloween, Remembrance Day, and Christmas. Along with thoughts shared on these topics, other information was communicated such as hobbies, career aspirations, pets, and even adored superheroes. This year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were quite different – subdued, limited and in general not open to the public. This allowed for the pen pals to share some of their personal memories, thoughts, and reflections. Although Remembrance Day ceremonies were not held in person, both groups were able to communicate what Remembrance Day means to them.
Reflecting on Mrs. Adler’s quote, it is important that we encourage continued dialogue between the generations, and indeed amongst our family, friends, and neighbours. Keeping communication alive helps our communities stay vibrant and thrive!