Dear Rhode Island was born in spring 2020, as COVID-19 had settled in for the long haul and we were desperately seeking ways to connect with other people. It was a community-led project to build connection across Rhode Island using the power of letters. Writing letters to local penpals was a way to process what we were experiencing and create moments of delight in days that were blurring together with uncertainty and sameness.
Since then, thanks to you, Dear Rhode Island has:
- Matched more than 1,140 penpals.
- Facilitated the exchange of hundreds and hundreds of letters.
- Delivered 400+ thank you notes to health care heroes.
- Reached out to more than 370 seniors and people experiencing particular isolation at the end of 2020.
- Written more than 165 welcome letters to Afghan refugees who are resettling in Rhode Island.
COVID is still with us, but it’s a different time now. With declining participation rates, we’ve decided to bring Dear Rhode Island to a close. We might be back for some special events, but we will no longer be hosting the every-other-month letter exchange.
Please feel free to continue writing your existing Dear Rhode Island penpals. If you haven’t already, this would be the time to exchange addresses so you can write directly.
Thank you to each and every penpal! Whether you have written once or every round, you’ve reminded us of the power of a personal note. Together, you have created a beautiful web of connections that reaches across Rhode Island.
Thank you also to the community organizations who partnered with us, including Aging Well Inc. Care New England, Dorcas International, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Newport Housing Authority, Pawtucket Housing Authority, Prospect CharterCARE, Refugee Dream Center, South County Health, Thundermist Health Center, West Bay RI, and Woonsocket Housing Authority.
Keep writing, penpals!
Jessica, Jillian, Jodie, and Susannah
(the Dear Rhode Island team)