Will You Be My Pen Pal?

I volunteer as a mentor to a group of 14 boys ages 6-11 at my local Boys and Girls Club. Click here to learn more about my experiences with these hilarious, smart, and good-natured children. I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality of their lives so I decided to start a pen pal program. When I told them about it, they smiled and clapped. They get very excited over everything we do.

Pen Pal Program Purpose
The purpose of the pen pal program is to match each boy with one or more pen pals. The goals of the program include:

1. Brightening the day of a child when he receives mail from someone who expresses interest in him and provides positive support;

2. Teaching a child about other cultures, states or countries, or customs; and

3. Helping a child develop a passion for writing

How to Participate
1. You must be 18 years old.

2. You must commit to writing one (1) letter per month for a minimum of six (6) months for a total of six (6) letters. Each of the boys will have multiple pen pals but you will only select one boy.

3. All letters will be mailed to the Boys and Girls Club. You will never ask a child intrusive information (i.e. income level, home address, parents’ marital status, etc.). You will keep the conversations light, fun, and always positive.

4. Children will use a nickname. No child’s personal information will be disclosed to protect their safety.

5. When you mail your letter to the club, you will include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the child to send you a return letter. If you live outside of the United States, please calculate required postage. We welcome people from all over the world. They don’t travel so they’re very fascinated by people who live in other countries.

6. Mail your letter by the 1st day of each month to ensure all of the boys receive a letter. Letters will be read on approximately the 7th of each month and the boys will write and return replies shortly thereafter. I’ll share photos of the boys reading your letters. I hope you will look forward to hearing from them as much as they do you.

You will mail letters to:
Andrew Kirschner, Volunteer
c/o Jim and Jan Moran Boys and Girls Club
27 S Dixie Hwy
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

*Please write the name of your pen pal on the back of the envelope.

Please review the photos below and let me know which of the boys you would like to be your pen pal by replying with a comment on this thread. I’ll confirm your pen pal by responding to you on the thread. Thank you for your support and for helping to make a difference in the life of a child.

J.C.IMAG2339
J.A.IMAG2338
AMPIMAG2318

L.J.IMAG2317

EatleeIMAG2316

C.J.
IMAG2315

Jay
IMAG2296

MeloIMAG2295

Ant
IMAG2294

ZayIMAG2293

D.J.IMAG2291

MarvelousIMAG2290

GabeIMAG2289

Var
IMAG2352

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a grassroots vegan animal rights activist. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, and hosts a radio show, Kirschner’s Korner Radio, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.

174 thoughts on “Will You Be My Pen Pal?

    1. Dear Kelly,

      Fantastic! Marvelous has very high energy. Expect a long letter. He is also a super artist and a natural leader. He will be so excited to hear from you. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready. Please make sure to include the SASE. Once all the boys receive at least one letter, I will give them to them to read and respond. Thank you for taking the time to make difference in his life. He is a very special young man.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

    2. Hi Kelly,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Hi Penbeck,

      Thank you for your interest. The boys like everything. We play a lot of football and basketball so they happened to write it on their signs. How about Gabe? He is a gentle soul with a wide range of interests. What do you think? Also, Jay is a hoot and like to draw. Of course, they all like animals because I talk to them about animals all the time!:-)

      Andrew

        1. Wonderful. I put you down for Jay. He loves to draw, especially Spongebob Squarepants, as you can see. Jay is so good-natured and funny. You will adore him! Thank you for taking an interest in him and for sharing the program with others. I appreciate your support!

          You can send your letter whenever you’re ready. As soon as each boy receives at least one letter, I’ll share them and they will write back to everyone. Please remember to include a return SASE.

          Thanks again,

          Andrew

  1. Andrew, great, I’m looking forward to it! Is it okay to type our letters and include clip art, pictures of ourselves, etc? Also, what topics would you like us to include in the first letter?

    1. You bet Kelly. Typed is fine. Pictures, clip art, etc. all good. Topics are wide open. You can ask them about what they do at the club, their favorite subjects in school, what they want to be when they grow up, the most important lessons they’ve learned at the club, etc.

      Thank you Kelly! I appreciate it more than you know. This is going to make them so happy!

      Andrew

    1. And believe me Catrina, Ant will love being your pen pal. Ant is such a hoot. He is so kind, funny, and energetic. I’ve told his mother I want to adopt him but she won’t give him up!:-)

      Thank you very much for your participation. You can send the first letter whenever you’re ready. Please rememeber to include a return SASE. I appreciate your support. He will be thrilled to hear from you!

      Andrew

        1. Thank you Catrina. The boys ask me every day, “Are our letters here yet?” and I have to explain to them that no letters could arrive when I haven’t announced the program yet!:-) They’re slightly excited.:-)

    2. Hi Catrina,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew:)

        Just checking in. I haven’t received a letter from ANT yet. Did you get my letter to him?

        catrina

        1. Hi Catrina,

          I’m very sorry to hear that news! We returned all letters at least one week ago. The only one I still have is one for “Anna” because there was no return address. Do you also go by the name Anna?

  2. Hi Andrew, I would love to write to Zay! What a cutie! Anyone who is happy to be on a team called the Role Models gets my vote.

    1. That’s wonderful Sue! Zay is a real personality. You won’t receive any boring letters, that’s for sure! Thanks so much for your participation. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready! He will be so excited to hear from you.

    2. Hi Sue,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew, yes, I mailed it over the weekend. I’m in California, so I would think you would get it today or tomorrow.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      You got it! Thanks so much for participating. Zay cracks me up. I hope you get as much joy from receiving his letters as he gets from reading yours.

      *Reminder to everyone: Each boy can have multiple pen pals so don’t worry about choosing a boy someone else has already selected. I’ll make sure they all at least have one before I share your letters.:-)

    1. Aww, that’s so nice Stan. C.J. will be perfect for you. He is such a good soul. What do you think? Thanks so much for participating. I know you will make a big difference in his life.

      Andrew

    2. Hi Stan,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  3. Hello Andrew, I would be more than happy to participate.  Choose one of the angels for me and let me know what to do.   I am a former 5th grade teacher, and now I work in a social service agency for rape crisis victims.   Have a blessed day! Carolyn

    ________________________________

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Thank you for the work you do. That’s such an important cause.

      J.C. will be perfect for you. He is 100% angel. Please read the post for directions and let me know if you have any questions.

      Thanks so much Carolyn!

      Andrew

    2. Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Hi Judy,

      Please take V. He is not pictured here because he has been absent lately but I’ll show you a photo of him from the main “Role Models” article. He is a super kid. Thanks so much for joining the club!

      Andrew

    2. Hi Judy,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  4. I would like to write to Eatlee. For no reason other than that nickname. If there’s anything else worth knowing about him, let me know. Thanks

    1. That’s hilarious David. You got it. Feel free to ask him about it. He is very outgoing and has endless energy. Prepare for a very funny letter in return! He loves sports. I’ll let him fill you in on the rest. Thank you very much for caring enough to be a part of his life. It means a lot to me and I will know it will mean the world to him.

      Andrew

    2. Hi David,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. You got it Liz. You will love Jay. He is a very talented artist and a super sweet boy. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready! Make sure you include a return SASE.

      Thank you very much!

      Andrew

  5. Sounds like a great bunch of kids. I’d be happy to be pen pals with any of them, so why don’t you choose someone please? Anyone who enjoys reading, art and especially animals would be a good match.

    1. Hi Paula,

      They all enjoy animals. They don’t have a choice!:-) I’m taking them to visit a local shelter next week and the staff from a local wildlife center are coming to make a presentation as well. I’m hopeful they will grow up to be models of compassion.

      I would like to match you with Amp. He is so kind, respectful, and well-mannered. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready.

      Thank you very much for caring.

      Andrew

      1. You can expect a letter within the week (it has to travel from CA). I’m looking forward to being Amp’s pen pal.

    2. Hi Paula,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    3. Hi Paula,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew,
        So sorry, I haven’t sent my letter to AMP yet but have made him a card with our dog’s photo, replenished our supply of postage stamps & will get it mailed asap.
        Paula

    1. Amazing Sarah! You’re the best. Please be D.J.’s pen pal. He doesn’t have one yet and he is flat out, downright, unmistakably awesome! You will love him. Thanks so much!

      You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready.

      Andrew:-)

    2. Sarah,

      P.S. Feel free to talk to him about PETA kids or anything else animal related. He is a really good soul. He has been very active in my campaigns for animals and very much enjoyed our plant-based bbq.:-)

    3. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  6. What a wonderful idea, Andrew! If participants preferred, would you assign a pen pal rather than us having to choose?

    1. Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for your interest. You bet! It’s my pleasure to introduce you to your pen pal JA. He is super duper — such a sweet boy. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready.

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Sandra,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Hi Dana,

      That’s so sweet of you! Please be pen pals with L.J. He is a sensational athlete with a lot of leadership ability. He is the oldest boy in the group at 11. I think he will really benefit from this experience. I’m very grateful to you for caring and for showing interest in being a positive example in his life.

      You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready!

      Thank you!

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Dana,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  7. Hi Andrew,

    All the boys have the best smiles! They are precious – please pick a sweetie for me.
    This is exciting, I used to teach and I miss the kiddos!

    Compassion for all!
    Marie:)

    1. Hi Marie,

      Thanks so much! Your pen pal will be Gabe. Prepare to laugh, smile, and feel the rewards all over again. You will adore him!

      You can send your first letter with a return SASE whenever you’re ready!

      And yes, I love their smiles! I try to make them laugh whenever I see them.

      Andrew:-)

      1. Hi Andrew – In your How to Participate instructions you said to mail by the first of each month so I dropped off my letter to Gabe in the mail box yesterday and it will go out today. I hope I haven’t disappointed Gabe, please let him know that his letter is on the way! – Marie:)

    2. Hi Marie,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    3. Hi Marie,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  8. Hi Andrew,
    I’d love to write as well. Such a wonderful idea. Pleas pick a name for me as we’ll. I look forward to netting my pen pal.
    Linda

    1. I’m not surprised Linda. You’re so generous and caring. Your pen pal will be Ant. He is a rock star! You will love him! Thanks so much.

      You can send your letter and return SASE whenever you’re ready!

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Linda,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  9. What a great idea Andrew, I’m in! You can choose a boy for me as well, if you don’t mind. I’m sure my 7-year-old daughter would be happy to draw/color a picture to include in addition to my letter…she is quite the artist:) Thanks!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Thanks so much Barbara. Var is the one for you! He is not pictured here because he has been absent but we will send you a photo. He has endless energy and will write great letters!

      You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready.

      Andrew:-)

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  10. Hi, I’d love to take part. You can match me with one of the boys. I teach political science, and I’m a huge sports fan (especially football and basketball!).

    1. Hi Amy,

      Fantastic. Thank you very much! Marvelous loves football and basketball. You will get along famously. I sincerely appreciate your support.

      You can send your first letter with a return SASE whenever you’re ready!

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Amy,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Hi Julie,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew, I haven’t received a letter from Amp this month. Could you please check and let me know whether it was sent? Thanks!

  11. Hi Jay,
    Please pair me up with the boy who needs a pen-pal the most!
    Looking forward to writing to him soon!
    Hannah

    1. Hi Hannah,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  12. Hi Andrew,

    Man, picking one is very difficult, they are all so bright-eyed and full of life. Please choose one for me, whoever you feel would maybe like to correspond with someone in Canada😉 What a great idea this is!

    Thanks!
    Gwen

    1. Hi Gwen,

      Yes, you describe them perfectly. They are all so full of life. They love to laugh, play, smile, and have fun. When I introduced this idea to them, they couldn’t control their excitement. Being a pen pal with someone from another country will be so cool. I would like to match you up with J.A.

      You can send your letter and SASE whenever you’re ready. Make sure you calculate return postage from Florida. Thanks again!

      Andrew

      1. Great! I will send something out in the next day or so. Could we send cards, or would you rather we just used notepaper. I think it would be fun to send a different card everytime. Just let me know if you think that would work or not.:-)

    2. Hi Gwen,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Hi Kim,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  13. Please pick a penpal for me – thank you. I don’t want to pick one who may already have a number of penpals. Thanks – and how adorable is this program!

  14. Andrew I have an almost 7 year old daughter. Could she be pen pals with one of the boys? If so could you pick one that is around her age? She is a vegan, plays piano, loves gymnastics and dancing. She is in 1st grade and turns 7 on May 28th. I will also include a letter as well!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  15. I would be thrilled and honored to have any of these young men as a pen pal! If possible to let me whether I can participate and who I should write to I would be very grateful.

    1. Thanks so much Kent! You bet! At 11 years old, LJ is the oldest boy in my club. I would like to match you up with him. You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready! I appreciate you taking the time to care. I hope you both enjoy the experience.

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Kent,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  16. Andrew – I would love to participate in this pen pal idea, with my two girls Madelyn & Jillian, ages 7 & 4. They love animals, of course, and will most likely include many pictures they draw in the letters. Please choose any of the boys for us, and we’d be happy to participate in this super fun idea! Thank you Andrew!

    1. Aww, how cute Melinda. That’s awesome. Please be pen pals with Gabe. I think it will be a perfect match!

      You can send your first letter whenever you’re ready. I appreciate your support. I hope you all enjoy the experience.

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Melinda,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  17. I would love to participate. It would be great to be JC’s pen pal, however, if you need help with some of the other boys, please let me know. I came across your blog today and immediately felt a connection. Thank you for providing a way for us to connect. It’s a brilliant idea.

    1. Hi “Karma”

      Aww, thanks so much. It’s nice to meet you. You got it. JC is a super special kid. You will adore him.

      You can send your first letter and return SASE whenever you’re ready. I appreciate your support.

      Andrew:-)

  18. Hi Andrew,

    What a great idea! I would love to participate. I would love to write to Eatless or Ant…but I would be pen pals with any of these awesome boys.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration to me. You are wonderful.

    Best,
    Amrit

    1. Hi Amrit,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

    1. Jessika! I’m so excited you’re going to do it. You will be fantastic! Ant is one of my all-time favorite kids so you will adore him. Feel free to talk animals with him. He loves to draw, play sports, and have fun! He is 100% fabulous!

      You can send your letter whenever you’re ready. Make sure you include a return SASE.

      Thanks Jess!

      Andrew:-)

    2. Hi Jessika,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  19. If you still need someone from Europe I would like to sign up, just pair me with whichever boy you see fit/needs a pen pall:)

    1. Thank you very much Paul-letta. Yes, please be pen pals with DJ. He is a sweet and loving child. You can send your first letter and return SASE whenever you’re ready. I sincerely appreciate your support.

  20. Hello, Andrew! I would love to be a pen pal for one of the boys you mentor. Is there a child who doesn’t have a pen pal yet? Another wonderful project…..you’re amazing, Andrew!

    1. Aww, thank you very much my dear friend Betsy. Yes, I would like to match you with Jay. He loves to draw. I think you will really enjoy being his friend. You can send a letter whenever you’re ready. Please include a return SASE. I appreciate your support.

    2. Hi Betsy,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  21. Andrew,
    This looks like a wonderful program and I would like to participate. Could you please pair me with a child who is doesn’t have a pen pal, or maybe who has the fewest pen pals? I have so much respect for what you are doing on all fronts.
    Thanks for providing such a great service.
    Amber

    1. Thank you very much for your offer Amber. Yes, please be pen pals with Melo. I know he will benefit from your mentorship. You can see his photo above. Please send your return SASE and letter at your earliest convenience. Thank you for caring enough to participate.

      Andrew

    2. Hi Amber,

      Thanks again for signing up to be a pen pal. As of yesterday, we haven’t received your first letter with a return SASE. Did you send it yet? If not, do you think you can mail it this week? Thank you very much.

      Regards,

      Andrew

  22. Dear Andrew. I think I am in trouble with the stamp I included! When I asked the lady about the return stamp internationally she looked confused, and now I realised the stamp she added was the same as Brazilian. I did the research and they don’t have these type of stamps, instead I need to buy an international reply coupon which you need to exchange to stamp in Florida. I am so sorry, what can we do now? The letter should be due on your side on the 7 or 8 of April (sent it on the 28 of March).

  23. Hi Andrew – I just found your blog today and, if it’s not too late, I’d like to be a pen pal. If there is anyone who is not pal’d up yet or who has fewer than the others, please let me know. Otherwise, feel free to pick someone for me and just let me know some of his interests. Thanks!!!

  24. Got the letter and drawing. Yay!! Love the picture. I’m ready to send another letter with more pics. Was it Jay I was corresponding with? He didn’t sign the letter or photo…Mahalo and aloha from Kauai, Leslie

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