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"Senior Partners in Education is a community of adults who value education and literacy. We seek to develop enthusiasm for education in children through intergenerational mentoring friendships. We connect adults and children in written correspondence to support life-long learning for the young and the old. Senior Partners invites people of all backgrounds, education levels, races and religions to cultivate a commitment to life-long learning." -Mission Statement of Senior Partners in Education Program
Our organization recruits adult volunteers to become pen pals with a child for one school year. We work in connection with teachers across the nation to promote literacy, education and learning. We ask that each adult volunteer write the child pen pal at least once a month either via email or US mail. We provide a monthly newsletter with suggested topics for discussion and children's book reviews. History: In 1994, a retired education professor from Indiana University, Carl Smith, learned a valuable lesson about teaching children. This lesson came not from a book or one of his college students but from a young girl who hated school and had little promise of ever reaching college. This young girl was a pen pal to Smith's college-aged daughter and the two wrote letters for two years. Then in 1994, this letter came from the little girl, "You have been the best thing that ever happened to me. You have helped me more than you will ever know. I thought you would like to know that I have decided to go to college. You have convinced me.? After reading this letter Smith realized that one of the keys to learning will never be found in the classroom, but instead must come from outside. Every child needs an adult friend who is willing to just listen and dream. In these dreams the future becomes a reality and goals are created. Smith founded the Senior Partners in Education to help children find this adult friend. Since 1994, children across the country have been matched with adult pen pals through their schools. Senior Partners in Education is now a program of the Eric Clearinghouse on Reading, Education and Communication at Indiana University. We seek adult volunteers to reach out to students across the nation and become a pen pal via email or traditional mail.
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