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Letters from our (new) home was completed in October with great success, involving 14 seniors and 18 youth, plus a few staff members from Little Mountain Neighbourhood House.
Seniors attending a choir program at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House were invited to write letters to friends and family members. These letters were brought to an ELL classroom at Tupper Secondary School.
Students spent time reading and re-writing these letters to practice language skills, and to learn about the content of each letter. Students re-wrote the text of each letter, and added unique illustrations relating to the content, using ink pens and watercolour paints. Students also wrote a formal letter to each senior at LMNH, introducing themselves and sharing a bit about their interests. Skills were further developed through oral readings of the letters.
This gave students a chance to further their English skills, both written and spoken, through direct contact with seniors in their neighbourhood. It also gave them a chance to explore self-expression through the artwork, in a relaxed setting.
Seniors and youth met at LMNH; the seniors were thrilled with the creative attention each student gave their letters. Watching the newcomer youth share their work with the seniors, who also spoke English as a second language, was quite special; both groups enjoyed the connections.
We do not know of the reactions to the illustrated letters; my guess is that the recipients were surprised and happy, as the artwork for each letter was quite special.
At the end of our visit, the youth were invited to sing a song with the choir. In addition, LMNH’s Youth Worker shared information about youth programs.. Envelopes were addressed by the writers, and the letters were sent off through the postal system.
It was a great privilege to be welcomed into the classroom, and to spend a number of hours with these students. My thanks to all those who participated, both the youth and the elders.
Sincere thanks to Wen Ren, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, and AJ Miller, Tupper Secondary School for their time and support of this project.