Pen Pal Program

History of the VVOCF pen pal program:
During a trip to South Africa in the summer of 2006, Dr. Jeanne Gazel developed a pen pal program as a plan to bring the students from the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE)  at Michigan State University closer to children and youth involved with VVOCF. This relationship has grown as displayed below: 

  1. MRULE student leaders introduce their participants to the children in Zonkizizwe through photos and basic information. The participants form small groups that meet to write letters and put together small gift packages for Jeanne to deliver to Zonkizizwe in March 2007.
  2. Jeanne delivers packages to the children of VVOCF and returns with letters from the children.
  3. Students from MSU raise $12,000 for VVOCF and travel to Zonkizizwe during their study abroad trip to South Africa and got the opportunity to meet their pen pals. MSU students planned a winter camp for the children to attend and worked with the VVOCF staff and community members to build the children’s center.
  4. Intern, Rachel Frank, brings back letters from the children when she returns to the U.S. in August 2007.
  5. Pen pals exchange letters, packages, and e-mail messages.
  6. New pen pals are added on the VVOCF side as well as the East Lansing side through the MRULE program and 2 local elementary schools in East Lansing.
  7. Jeanne takes letters from the new and old pen pals in Michigan to the children in Zonkizizwe and returns with letters in December 2007.
  8. Pen pals on both sides continue exchanging letters. 

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