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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Kip Center and RHS Pen Pals

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Submitted by Kelly Lancaster, RHS English Teacher and Cathy Baviello, Director of the 55 Kip Center. Photo credits: 55 Kip Center

Kelly Lancaster: In our Finding Happiness Through Mindfulness elective at Rutherford High School, students took part in activities centering around the connection and benefit of social interaction amongst teens and an older generation. Students and members of the Kip Center became pen pals with the hope to meet one another at the end of course. Thankfully, that meeting did take place when members of the Kip Center were generous enough to host a meet and greet event. While having breakfast, pen pal members were able to meet, share stories, and learn more about one another. The smiles were contagious and the connection between the students and Kip Center members was undeniable. Many of the students and Kip Center members are hoping to continue their pen pal writing with one another.

"I was given a lot of advice regarding social life and what it's like to go to college, which I've actually been keeping in mind throughout the past few weeks. Gaining advice from another perspective is really helpful!" explained RHS student Rachael Vidal.

Here are what some of the Kip Center participants had to say about this program:

“It is fun and enlightening to share our experiences with such wise and intelligent young people” – Julia S.

“I enjoyed meeting all the young people they are refreshing, smart and personable”

– Carol F.

55 Kip Center members were able to meet their Rutherford High School pen pals. This is one of the Intergenerational programs Kip Center offers. The Meet and Greet Breakfast with RHS students was a huge success, and enjoyed by all.

"I enjoyed meeting the students” –Barbara W.

“I liked having the opportunity to share my thoughts as a senior citizen with a high school student” – Kit A.

“I loved getting a youthful point of view on the meaning of friendships and their importance” –Janet R.

“I enjoy learning from the young” –Gia S.

Having a pen pal develops compassion and understanding of generational values and encourages the ability to search for and find common bonds between letter writer and reader. The Kip Center's Intergenerational programs are supported by a grant provided by Bergen County.

RHS Student Rachael Vidal told TIR, "I enjoyed being able to communicate with someone else who I felt relatively comfortable with and close to! I liked the concept of having a continuous conversation, I grew very close with my pen pal over the course of a few weeks."

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