Morehouse Parish elementary students given chance to exchange letters worldwide

Pen Friends lets students exchange letters to better their reading and writing skills.
Pen Friends lets students exchange letters to better their reading and writing skills.(Storyblocks)
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 1:20 PM CST
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MOREHOUSE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Elementary school students in Morehouse Parish now have the opportunity to exchange letters with people across the world through a program sponsored by renewable energy company Drax.

The Pen Friends program is part of United Way’s ‘READ. LEARN. SUCCEED.’ initiative, which works toward strengthening children’s literacy and increasing social mobility. The program gives second and third-grade students the chance to exchange letters with volunteers to practice their reading and writing.

Pen Friends was introduced to Delta and Morehouse Elementary Schools last year, and Drax has recently sponsored the expansion of the program to include over 100 students in Morehouse Parish, making it possible for students to correspond with volunteers with Drax’s operations in the U.S. as well as thousands of miles away in the U.K. and Canada.

“I was keen to join the ‘Pen Friends’ program having heard about it from my colleagues in the U.S. – it’s such a worthwhile initiative to help and encourage children with their literacy skills and support the communities where we live and work,” said UK-based Kendra Jackson, Drax Internal Communications Business Partner. “My first letter has been sent and I’m looking forward to hearing from my ‘Pen Friend’ to learn more about her – hopefully I can pass on my love of reading, even in a small way!”

Each month, participating students receive a letter and a packet filled with books, activities, and other educational tools to aid in their learning.

“I’m really enjoying the experience of being a ‘Pen Friend’ as it means a lot to be able to help young people with their education and learning,” said Canada-based Alan Verbeke, Drax Health & Safety Manager. “I’m looking forward to learning about my Pen Friend’s life and goals, and I hope the program helps them have even more fun at school.”