In a world full of technology, handwritten letters seem to be a rarity. Luckily, there are still some amazing programs out there that encourage kiddos to write letters. There are “pen pal” programs, fan mail programs, and other opportunities to share their thoughts through the written word. 

Peaceful Pen Pals Project –

This program is through the “Kids for Peace Organization” non-profit organization. There is a place on the website to sign up for either a domestic pen pal or an international pen pal. There is a note that reads that there are many more requests from kids in the US to have an international pen pal than there are requests from international kids who want a pen pal from the US. Because of this, there is essentially a waitlist for US kids to receive an international pen pal. Here is the link to more info: https://kidsforpeaceglobal.org/peacefulpenpals/.

Pen Pal Project for Multiracial Youth Groups –

The Oregon Chinese Coalition organized this group for kiddos ages 12-18 of varied races. The goal is to “build an alliance of youth across communities to stop racism” through connecting youth from communities of color. Participants also receive free martial arts classes once a week through a hybrid teaching model. A grant called the Multnomah County RACE VIP enabled this program. To join this program, kiddos must be referred by their schools or community partners (such as a church, nonprofit, or culture-specific organization). Here is the link for more info: https://pdxchinese.org/penpal/.

International Pen Friends –

This program sounds amazing! Good news, bad news with this. The bad news: it is not free. The price of membership ranges from $25 to $40. The good news: you get to choose up to 8 different countries that you would like to have a pen pal from! Also, although it may be expensive, you can choose things besides letters to exchange. Some of the alternative items to send and receive include dolls, stamps, books, CDs, cards, souvenirs. Here is the link:https://www.ipfworld.com/onlineapplication.html.

Write to a Soldier –

Education.com provides an activity template and suggestions on how kiddos can write to a soldier. The downloadable activity relays two websites that provide info on soldiers who would like pen pals. The first website is called, Any Soldier. Here is the link: http://www.anysoldier.com/. The second website is called, Forgotten Soldier’s Outreach. Here is the link: https://www.forgottensoldiers.org/. Another suggestion is to reach out to your local USO or United Service Organization for info on reaching soldiers who may want a pen pal. Here is the link to the Education.com article relaying more info: https://www.education.com/download-pdf/activity/26459/.

International Pen Pals for Kids- Facebook Group –

On Facebook, there is a group dedicated to kids finding pen pals. You must “request to join” the group. There are over 5,000 members. There is a note below the group’s title urging members to use postal mail, not electronic mail. The goal is to bring children together worldwide, embrace diversity, and inspire friendship. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/776107409259698/.

Fan Mail Letters –

This option is a little different than a pen pal situation. While pen pals go back and forth and respond to each other more than once (usually), a fan letter is a letter sent and likely just one response back. With that said, there are some awesome options for kids if they go this route. Here are a few suggestions and their addresses:

  • Fan mail to any Disney character: 

Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040  

  • The President of the USA: 

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

  • Santa Claus: 

North Pole Postmark
Postmaster
4141 Postmark Dr. 
Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

  • The Queen of England

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA

  • Scholastic authors: 

Author Name
c/o Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012-3999                                             

Write to an Astronaut –

NASA has an amazing program in which kids can write to a specific astronaut! First, the kiddo picks out an astronaut. Here is the link to the choices: https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts. After they have chosen one, they draft a letter. The suggestion is to ask a specific question. Lastly, the kiddo can request an autographed picture of the astronaut! A very cool program. I can’t imagine how inspiring this must be for kids! It is encouraged to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The letters can be sent to this address: 

NASA Johnson Space Center
CB/Astronaut Office
Houston, TX 77058 

Dear Stranger –

Oregon Humanities.org developed a program called, Dear Stranger. The idea is to connect Oregonians through letters. This program encourages people of any age to participate but does require a consent form for anyone under 18. There is also a release form that is required. There is a deadline of Oct. 4th, 2021. The website provides a writing prompt to get people started about climate. The goal is to share experiences, beliefs, and ideas. This activity is probably best suited for teens and young adults. For safety, the Oregon Humanities staff reads letters before they are exchanged. Here is the link for more info: https://www.oregonhumanities.org/programs/other-projects/dear-stranger/.


Some of these programs definitely inspire me. I will start the write a soldier program and relay some suggestions to my kids and see what they’re interested in. An important note I saw on one of the websites was to be sure that kids are committed to keeping up on their pen pal job once they start. This is important because it’s unfortunate for a kid who sends out a letter and doesn’t get one in return. Or a kid who has been going back and forth with someone, only to have their friend drop off without a goodbye or explanation. That makes absolute sense to me. That would be confusing and sad, even for an adult. On a website called “Big Life Journal,” there is an offer to sign up and receive a “pen pal kit” for free that is full of downloadable letter templates for kids beginning their journey in writing pen pals. Here is the link: https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/find-pen-pal-for-your-child?wickedsource=google&wickedid=EAIaIQobChMI4vGT3NWC8gIVgfTjBx1bwQkPEAMYASAAEgJuZfD_BwE&wickedid=462272925255&wv=3.1&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4vGT3NWC8gIVgfTjBx1bwQkPEAMYASAAEgJuZfD_BwE. Best of luck to you all in finding a pen pal for the kids!

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