Jefferson Junior High School students write letters to Romanian pen pals

Donate Today Buy This Video

A stack of 63 letters is on its way to Romania this weekend thanks to some efforts from Jefferson Junior High School students.

Pen-pal relationships blossom

The letters are a part of the Power of We Symposium’s Legacy of Hope Tour, led by Dr. Loren Michaels Harris. A team of over 20 volunteers is traveling to Romania on May 5 -12 to deliver care cases to local children who live in orphanages or are homeless. The cases will include letters written by Jefferson students.

“The piece this year is so important because these letters are originating from kids not in foster care,” said Harris. “Whereas the recipients are 100% kids in Romania, and have found their lives in some form of the (foster) system.”

Carter Lickus, an eighth-grader, enjoyed telling Romanian children about his life in Naperville.

“I wrote the letter about mainly who I am, what I like to do, just my personal life,” said Lickus. “I’ve never done it before, so it was cool. It was a new experience.” 

The Romanian children are invited to send a letter back to a student from Jefferson in return.

Seventh grader Evelyn Austin cannot wait to make a new pen pal friend.

“It’s just really interesting to think about,” said Austin. “I never knew this person, but I’m going to be able to connect to them across the world, and learn more about them.” 

Youth ambassador to deliver the letters

And for this trip, there’ll be a youth ambassador coming along. Granger Middle School’s Sebastian Reyna will join the organization in Romania and deliver the letters to the children.

“(I’m) very honored,” said Reyna. “It’s not every day a 14-year-old kid gets to do this. This is kind of the dream, and I’m going to take advantage of every second of it.”

Harris, Reyna and the rest of the Power of We Symposium team are glad to have the help of the Jefferson students. 

“We are really excited about this potential of kids growing together,” said Harris. “Not just through their communication of what their joys and fears are, (what) their hopes and dreams are. But what if two of these kids become lifelong friends? So what I love about this penpal program is that it’s forcing us to put the power in hands of kids.” 

If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you!