From the beginning of 2016-2017 school year, the students of Agape House have made some new friends! Through the newly established Pen Pal Program, a class of students from Central A&M High School have been eagerly writing letters back and forth with the eighth grade Agape House class located in Blantyre, Malawi.
Although, for the sake of time and cost, we have chosen to send the letters via email, the old fashioned art of letter writing has not been lost. In order for the students to both have the opportunity to work on their English reading and writing skills, as well as penmanship, the students continue to write their letters by hand and are then scanned, emailed, and sent forth from there. This enables the pen pal friendships formed to engage in a more personable level as they are able to see the specialized hand writing of their new friend. Not only does it benefit the student academically, but the Pen Pal program also encourages cross cultural awareness, diversity, and even a bit of motivation to keep attending school. More than anything, the friendships that are built bring encouragement, hope, and excitement to our students who often face difficult circumstances.
Ms Taylor Brunner, teacher at Central A&M stated about the program:
“The pen pal program has been an amazing learning experience for our students. The students are learning about similarities and differences in weather, daily routines, types of music, books, foods, and so much more. This is a chance for students to better understand how big the world really is, but that something as simple as a letter can bring us all closer together. The learning taking place with the pen pal program is something beyond what a text book, or the internet can teach. As a class, we feel as though we have gained new friends”
As Agape House facilitates the sending of letters, we are always amazing blessed by how curious, kind, and receptive the students are of one another. It’s refreshing and exciting to see a group of students who are so willing to learn and share their lives with someone from another culture. With each passing letter, the students go from mere pen pals to a beloved friend. Hunter Semelka described his love for the program when he said, “I think the pen pal letters are great. I think it is crazy that I have a friend in Africa now.”
Thank you so much Ms. Brunner’s class! We are glad to have you be apart of the lives of our Agape Students.