A group of students at Barrhead Composite High School (BCHS) have been participating in a pen pal program with residents of local long-term care programs.
During a recent visit to BCHS to learn about the breakfast program, staff member Trisha Enman also brought up the new pen pal program that started earlier this year.
Enman, who heads up the work experience program, said they had reached out to the staff at Hillcrest Lodge, Shepherd’s Care and the Barrhead Continuing Care Centre about setting up a pen pal program between the students and the seniors.
She said the students participating in the program include two Grade 7 classrooms and a few Grade 10 students.
Enman said that at the start of the program, she got the students to list three or four of their interests, noting that they had to be things like hunting, fishing, taking care of animals. (Not video games, in other words.)
The staff at the three long-term care facilities were then able to match up their seniors with students based on those interests.
The pen pal exchange is now on Letter No. 2. In fact, Enman had a stack of letters from seniors at the BCHS office prior to the Christmas break, which she was going to send out to students if they didn’t pick them up.
Enman said some of the students are involved in the program to get some extra credit, but also as a “feel-good project.”
Toy and food drive
Around Christmas time, it is traditional at BCHS for the various classrooms to participate in a toy and food drive.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of the school throughout December basically made it impossible for students to participate, teacher Rebecca Carr passed on a message that the staff “really picked up the slack” in terms of donations this year.
She noted that typically the staff try to donate items for the Santa’s Toy Box program that are more geared towards teenagers, which are sometimes forgotten by charity efforts like this.