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'Greetings From Guelph' initiative connects young letter writers with area seniors

Greetings from Guelph sends letters from Guelph youth to Guelph seniors
A senior looking out the window. Pexel photo

The pandemic has resulted in individuals feeling isolated and some seniors just feeling forgotten.

To help bring some cheer on their faces, a city program is calling on the youth to create handwritten cards to be sent for seniors in the community. 

Launched on Wednesday, the program, Greetings from Guelph is seeking individuals between 13 to 30 years of age to send letters to individuals between 55 to 110 years of age. The deadline for youth and seniors to register is March 31.

“It’s just a one-way letter exchange and we’ve encouraged youth to write a letter, write a poem, draw a picture. Anything that brings them joy that they would like to share with seniors in the community,” said Jenn Bucci, recreation coordinator with the City of Guelph’s youth services.

“We’re really excited about the program. We think it will be a great opportunity to spread some cheer in less than enjoyable times right now with COVID-19.”

Bucci said while talking to her co-worker Tonie Macinnis in senior services, the two realized something needs to be done while seniors feel lonely, don’t have many activities to engage in and face a greater safety risk when going out during the pandemic. 

“We find that seniors feel isolated and are not really connecting with friends and family right now or being able to see them,” said Bucci.

“We thought of ways that we could brighten their day or bring a bit of joy and encouragement in a time of need. 

To participate in the program, youth interested in sending letters and seniors interested in receiving letters must register online. 

“We’re hoping to do handwritten letters because it adds a special touch,” said Bucci. 

Youth have the opportunity to scan and email the letters, or drop off or mail the letters to the Evergreen Seniors Community Centre. 

Once the centre receives the letters, they will seal them and address them directly to seniors that registered so the identity of both parties is protected. Seniors will receive their letters between the end of April and the beginning of May. 

“Youth are kind of at that point in their life, they're looking for things to do and everyone is looking for things to do and how they can contribute to the community,” said Bucci. 

“I think it's really important to recognize the intergenerational programming where we often have the opportunity to support seniors and youth in a similar capacity.