Fatima Al Timeemy is a college student, but on this particular day, she’s playing with colored pencils, markers, and crayons.
And it’s all for elementary school students.
Ivy Tech Community College Northeast students in the Associate Accelerated Program, or ASAP, have third grade pen pals at West Noble Elementary in Ligonier.
It’s part of No Excuses University, a program that pairs elementary schools that have a high number of students on free and reduced lunch with colleges and military personnel to encourage the elementary students to stay in school. At the end of the semester, the elementary students will tour Ivy Tech Northeast and get to meet their pen pals, who they will write to throughout the semester.
“And you’ll be superstars, and they’ll be so excited to meet you because you’re in college,” Kim Myers, Ivy Tech Northeast’s ASAP coordinator, told her students before they began writing their letters earlier this week.
And the college students get something out of it, too — they get to learn the importance of letters.
“People don’t write letters. Handwriting is a lost art,” Myers said. “I think there is a personal touch that you get with a handwritten letter that you don’t get when you’re emailing, and I think that’s what’s exciting for the kids. Nobody gets mail anymore.
The college students had fun with the letters, referring to their pen pals as minions and little sunshines.
Keyara Mere, an ASAP student, said she hopes her letter is inspiring to the third graders.
“I hope it means that they’ll always remember that someone they don’t know wants them to do well,” Mere said. “That would inspire me if someone I didn’t know wrote to me, (to know that) someone out there is rooting for me.”