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Pen pal program between Bismarck students, senior center connecting generations

Local News

The Burleigh County Senior Center is teaming up with school kids bridging the age gap with a journal.

“They’re getting a reconnection with their childhood by hearing what these children are doing and what these children enjoy,” shared Lisa Bennett, the Site Manager for Burleigh County Senior Center.

35 seniors and more than 50 students across the Capital City have begun a journey of building a bond through a pen pal program.

In a journal, they write and exchange their own stories while building a friendship.

“It also is an old fashion way of connecting. So many people are so technology-oriented by texting or calling. Where this is a little more personal, it takes more time,” said Bennett.

“Anytime I think that we can connect generations together, they’re always excited to do that,” said Olivia Kosienski, a Teacher at The Innovation School.

The Burleigh County Senior Center serves as the only social interaction for some of their members.

But with the ongoing pandemic, many of them can’t see their friends, family or loved ones.

“This year it’s just looking different for everyone and I think being apart of the community this way really excites kids and the seniors,” said Kosienski.

Every two weeks the journals are dropped off to one of the groups.

Students over at the innovation school in Bismarck say they can’t wait to learn more about their new friends.

“I hope that they learn that people care about them. That people are still trying, hope they have something to do. That they’re just not at home doing nothing,” explained Ella Hice, a student at The Innovation School.

“I wrote about like what their hobbies is. And I hope I learn from this you can be friends with anybody of any age,” said Cora Faul, a student at The Innovation School.

“I want to make my seniors feel happy. That they’re like with someone and people still care about them. And I want to make them feel better because they’re stuck in their house because of the virus,” said Jacob Brown, a student at The Innovation School.

The hope for this project is to carry it out through the entire school year and eventually bring the two groups together to meet post-pandemic.

The journals were paid for by blue zone funding through Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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