Letter writing campaign helps college students and seniors bridge the generational gap, brings smiles

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
fgcu students to seniors

Putting smiles on faces while helping bridge a generational gap. A local letter-writing campaign is showing students and senior citizens how much words matter.

These cards, letters and caring words are extremely important during a time when so many are living in a bubble.

FGCU student Julie Gramazio started the program on their campus. “It allows students to process a lot of what’s been happening, this crazy chaotic year of 2020, while also reaching out to seniors in our local community that especially need some more human contact,” Gramazio said.

The program is called ‘Students and Seniors: From our nest to theirs.’ The program is exactly as it sounds. Students write letters and cards that then get delivered to eight different senior centers in Lee County.

Betty Bullock is s president at The Springs at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers. “There’s just something wonderful about young people to be in contact with. As you can see, we’re a little short of them around here,” said Bullock.

Betty says it’s been tough this year in the senior center because they haven’t really seen people. “It’s kind of tough, because at the senior centers, right now, things are going in, but I’m not really there’s not a lot of contact, human contact, that’s been permissible at the Centers because of the COVID-19 restrictions,” Bullock said.

325 students from FGCU sent thousands of letters and were able to build meaningful, friendships.

“I had a call from a girl Chloe in the fall and we had several conversations and we talked about all sorts of things,” said Bullock.

Mckenzie Mills works at The Springs and says she can see the difference these letters are making in residents’ lives. “Many of our residents aren’t getting a chance to see their loved ones face-to-face, so to get little moments of handwritten notes is a very special thing,” said Mills.

“I’ve gotten a lot more from this project than I’ve given you know it by doing something good for other people. It’s provided me a sense of peace that has been in short supply this year,” said Gramazio.

There are plans to expand the letter program to Naples and Cape Coral next year. There is also a Facebook page where students post their videos.

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