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Wesley Aunties & Uncles connect over the lost art of letter writing

30 April 2020 Wesley Mission news

 FAM15669 WesleyAuntiesAndUncles 1200x1200 v1Putting pen to paper is not a common communications tool nowadays. Zoom chat? Sure. Skype? No problem. But very few people write letters.

One Wesley Aunties & Uncles mentor is reviving this lost art by writing personal letters to a young person she mentors.

Wesley Aunties & Uncles pair vulnerable children with volunteer mentors, ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles, who become part of their extended family.

Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Wesley Aunties & Uncles have creatively developed ways to overcome barriers for some face-to-face visits.

“We're trying to do our part in flattening the curve, while still maintaining these really meaningful relationships with the children,” said Wesley Aunties & Uncles Team Leader Olivia.

“They are probably going through one of the most tumultuous time of their lives, not fully understanding what's happening and seeing everything change.

“Now, more than ever, the children need their aunties and uncles to help model strength and resilience.”

Searching for a new way to connect with the child she mentors, one Wesley Aunty reached out to Olivia. Together they brainstormed engaging and fun activities.

“I suggested we go old school and exchange letters,” Olivia said. “Children these days don't know how to write letters and they never get letters, so I thought it would be something new and exciting for them.”

Following Olivia’s lead, Wesley Aunty immediately bought a specialised ‘Snail Mail’ letter writing kit, wrote her first letter and mailed it. She hopes to write regularly.

“This aunty basically took one little suggestion and has made it her own and has made it really special for this girl,” Olivia said.

‘Snail Mail’ is just one of many creative ways the Wesley Aunties & Uncles team are encouraging their aunties and uncles to connect with the children they mentor. Other activities include playing chess online, video chat, reading stories online and online craft or origami.

“Our volunteers have been so responsive because they obviously care about the children so much,” Olivia said. “They’re showing that whatever is happening the world, they are still there for them.”

Wesley Aunties & Uncles Program Manager Michelle said she’s been overwhelmed by the way their volunteers have stepped up during this uncertain season.

“I always knew our volunteers were exceptional people,” she said. “But the way in which they have adapted and continued to care for our vulnerable children and families is absolutely inspirational. I can’t begin to thank them enough.”