Writing handwritten letters seems like a lost art in a digitally-driven world. While making connections online has advantages, the relationship doesn’t always feel genuine. Think back to a time when you created a sincere friendship through the act of writing to a pen pal. The excitement of making a new friend through handwritten letters can make you feel so special. There are plenty of opportunities to bring back the nostalgic feeling of opening the mailbox to a personalized letter addressed to you. Having a pen pal can provide you with opportunities to learn a new language or about a culture while making a new friend! There is nothing more personal than making an authentic connection with others through old-fashioned pen and paper.
Here are some programs and tips to help you blossom new friendships through writing, locally and internationally.
With this program, you won’t have to leave your house to travel the globe! Instead, PostCrossing is a program that allows individuals to send and receive personalized handwritten postcards via mail from all over the world. When creating this program, the founder’s main goal was to “connect people across the world through postcards, independently of their country, age, gender, race or beliefs.” When you request to send a postcard, PostCrossing will provide users with an address of a member and a postcard ID to register to keep receiving and sending postcards. With a worldwide community, you can form unique connections and learn about other cultures with individuals around the globe. The more postcards you send, the more you will receive, and in turn, create opportunities to build many friendships.
The community, WorldWide Snail Mail Pen Pals, was created in 2017 as a private Facebook group. The founders, who are pen pals themselves, created the group to help others form genuine connections through handwritten letters. This program lets members connect with over 43,000 pen pals who share similar interests, such as the special feeling you get when you receive a handwritten letter. WorldWide Snail Mail Pen Pals adheres to rules that help to keep the community a safe space for everyone included. They encourage each member to “be kind to one another, refrain from hate speech or bullying, and respect others’ privacy.” WorldWide Snail Mail Pen Pals ensures a safe and comfortable environment for all looking to build long-lasting friendships by sending and receiving snail mail.
Despite the name, Geek Girl Pen Pals Club, otherwise known as IGGPPC, is a welcoming community that encourages anyone to join regardless of their gender identification, culture, or background. The mission of this program is to provide a safe space where members can openly be themselves and build genuine relationships with others who share interests in stationery and communicating through pen and paper. This community has grown immensely and has matched over 30,000 pen pals together, some of whom have traveled overseas to meet in person and create long-lasting friendships. In addition, this community encourages every member to follow a manifesto dedicated to embracing yourself and others through the art of handwritten letters.
With over 4,000 Peaceful Pen Pals connected, Kids for Peace is a nonprofit organization that has helped kids connect and form friendships all over the globe. Kids for Peace created the Peaceful Pen Pals program to inspire the youth to come together to create kind and honest friendships by writing to a pen pal. Interested guardians can choose from two pen pal options, domestic or international, and the program will then match their child with a pen pal of the same gender and age on a first available basis. This program is a great way for children to explore their writing and creativity through handwritten letters while building friendships and learning about new cultures.
The feelings of isolation can greatly affect one’s mental and physical health. Seniors in nursing home facilities tend to be isolated more often now than ever before. Project Pen Pal is a program that allows people to volunteer to write handwritten personal letters to someone in a nursing facility across the country. Once you sign up to volunteer, you are given a pen pal and provided with their name, age, and the facility address. This program provides seniors with an outlet to communicate beyond the facility if isolated and the opportunity to create genuine connections through handwritten letters. Writing offers many benefits for seniors and can help improve cognitive function and memory capabilities.
Other Tips to Consider:
- Reach out to an extended family member or friend
- Search for pen pal programs/clubs in your area
- Use a P.O. Box for extra safety
- Create a pen pal program of your own
Continue the conversation and start writing to your new pen pal with SARASA Grand