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Pen Pal Program Expands to Trent in Oshawa
June 6, 2007

For 20 years, students from Trent University’s Peterborough campus have been excitedly participating in the ever-popular Pen Pal Program. Through the program hundreds of Trent students have had the opportunity to be matched up with local elementary school students to exchange letters and share experiences. Now, with the recent launch of the Pen Pal Program in Oshawa, Trent in Oshawa students will have a similar chance to make an impact on the lives of their elementary school counterparts.

The Trent University Pen Pal Program was started two decades ago by Professor Deborah Berrill, the director of the School of Education and Professional Learning at Trent. Through the program, Trent students correspond with elementary school students over the course of the school year. They also meet in person three times. The program promotes literacy, and has made a tremendous impact in the lives of children in Peterborough. Now, under the faculty advisement of Professors Rita Bode and Margaret Steffler from Trent’s English Department, and leadership of Oshawa pen pal program co-ordinator, Stacey Brine, the program will reach children in Oshawa as well.

A recent graduate of Trent University, Ms. Brine is looking forward to the challenge of coordinating a new program.

"The most rewarding thing for me is just starting this program on the Oshawa campus and feeling a sense of accomplishment," she says. "Our starter school, The Duke of Edinburgh, is a school that really needs us. Bringing this program to that school, and possibly to other schools in the future, opens a door for children to not only learn but to take ownership of their own skills for the year and show someone else what they can do."

The Trent in Oshawa Pen Pal Program will be launched in the fall.