A new pen pal club at Matthew Flinders Anglican College is connecting students and older adults on the Sunshine Coast to combat loneliness and social isolation caused by the pandemic.
College Chaplain Reverend Kathrin Koning is working with 15 students from Year 1 to Year 6 who chose to join the Pen Pal Club as part of the Flinders Primary School’s new Find My Spark co-curricular program.
“We know that many residents in aged care centres and older adults living in their homes are missing having regular visitors and socialising in the community due to coronavirus restrictions,” Rev’d Kathrin said.
“Through our Flinders Pen Pal Club, our students have discovered they can help to make a positive impact in the community by softening the sense of loneliness that some people might be experiencing,” she said.
“Our budding writers are enjoying the novelty of making cards, handwriting letters and posting special envelopes to their new pen pals, and they just love to receive letters too!”
Through the Pen Pal Club, the Flinders students are putting into practice the values they learn about every day at the College, including Compassion and Respect for others.
Year 3 student Hannah decided to join the Flinders Pen Pal Club in Term 1. In her first letter, Hannah says she didn't know who she was talking to.
“So I wrote, ‘Dear Friend,’ and asked lots of questions about my new pen pal,” Hannah said.
Since then, Hannah and Joan have exchanged many letters and cards, and discovered that they have things in common, including that they both live in Buderim.
Hannah takes great pride in keeping all of the letters she receives from Joan, and glues them into a beautiful journal she has created as a keepsake.
“I love all the special cards and pictures Joan sends me. She even sent a photo of her with her whole family,” Hannah said.
“My Mum and Dad have been helping me to post my letters at the local post office. I’ve learnt a lot about Joan, such as:
1. She loves dogs
2. Her favourite colours are blue and purple
3. She lived in Africa for 40 years
4. She lives in Buderim - just near the College.”
In her next letter, Hannah will tell Joan about her latest news – that she’s joining the College orchestra and learning to play violin.
Do you have a pen pal? Do you ever feel lonely? According to a study by the University of Wollongong, one in four Australians feel lonely on three or more days a week.
Maybe you could write a letter to one of your loved ones who you are missing. Or you could find a new pen pal. We know a few people who would love to receive some special post!