Special Olympics Iowa Launches Pen Pal Program to Help Athletes Through Pandemic

National News

GRIMES, Iowa — Special Olympics Iowa has started a new program to help keep athletes connected and avoid feelings of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pen Pal Program connects athletes with people across the state and encourages them to keep in touch with handwritten letters.

You just need to sign up on their website, fill out a questionnaire about all the things you like, and you’ll be matched with an athlete and a pen pal kit will be sent to you. You’re asked to write three letters, but you can do video chat or other correspondence if you’re both comfortable.

Karen Whitman with Special Olympics Iowa said, “So just like you and I, anxiety, loneliness, stress, all of those feelings are feelings that our athletes are also feeling. And for some of them, it’s even more heightened feelings, and all of those areas, because of the fact that Special Olympics was their out, that was how they stayed active, that’s how they were able to connect with their friends. And so, when we lost opportunity to have in person programming, we had to be creative.”

Registration for the program is free and closes on December 4th.

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