Xavier Pen Pals

PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Move over technology! A Paradise Valley teen is throwing it back to a time familiar to senior citizens.

Right now, between online school assignments, Nina Rawal is running a pen pal program and connecting with seniors who live at Valley assisted living facilities.

Rawal and three friends hand write letters to these seniors, put it in an envelope with a stamp, put it in the mail and wait for a response back. No email, smart phones, or computers required.

Rawal’s pen pal is Marilyn Samuelson who lives at an assisted living center in Glendale.  In her last letter, written in cursive (see attached PDF) – Samuelson described “it is hard to stay shut in one room for so long” and that “no one can come and visit us, so I really miss my daughter.”

Rawal, a Xavier College Prep sophomore, launched her own website and hopes other students will join in her mission to ensure seniors don’t feel lonely or isolated during the pandemic. She doesn’t receive school credit.

She started the project back in March after talking to her own grandparents. She realized they were having a hard time and worried other seniors might feel the same.

Rawal doesn’t just write letters. She also makes masks and bakes sweets for these seniors.


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