Local teens meet their elementary school pen pals in virtual reveal

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Local teens meet their elementary school penpals in virtual reveal
The teens, who are part of a community service group called "Teens That Care," have been writing to students throughout the school year.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some local teens are making the best of a moment they, along with their sixth-grade pen pals, have waited for all year.

The teens, who are part of a community service group called "Teens That Care," have been writing to students throughout the school year.

They had planned a big reveal party to meet their pen pals in person before schools suddenly closed.

Now they've found a unique way to introduce themselves.

It wasn't the ending they had planned for, but it was meaningful nonetheless.

While sheltering at home, the teens have been making creative, bold and thoughtful posters, many including their pictures to make their big reveal!

The COVID-19 crisis had organizers of Teens that Care making the most of a special meeting that now cannot happen.

"I'm hoping they will walk by or at least drive by and see the words of encouragement, see what their pen pals personally wrote to them as their virtual reveal for them. I think it will just give them a sense that they are loved and thought of," says Jenny Ganson of Teens That Care.

Sixth-grader Miley showed up to get her handmade poster and was lucky enough to meet her pen pal, Clovis West senior Makenzie Thomas, through FaceTime.

"I wasn't really expecting to get to see her, but it was awesome getting to see her. I got to see her smile, see what she looks like get to talk to her a little bit. Ask her how her and her family are doing. It was really fun, really rewarding," says Makenzie.

The teens who've been writing to the students exchange monthly letters about their families, interests, goals and more.

Kirk Elementary principal Denise Romero said many of her students don't travel outside the area, so the relationship has really expanded the kids' horizons.

"For them to have penpals that live on the other side of town- they really teach them about all of the possibilities that they have and there's so much that they can achieve and I think they kind of open their eyes to some of the other things like going to college and things that you don't think of when you're 10 or 11 years old. So that's been a really great thing," says Romero.

The teens involved in this project are hoping that maybe at the beginning of the next school year they can meet their pen pals, if it's possible.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus