How to Pay It Forward with a Card: "Encourage a Young Writer" Day

We created "The Draw Together Collection" for young people, and still have a few sets left. 

Elizabeth H. Cottrell , author of HEARTSPOKEN, has a newsletter with all sorts of fun trivia about letter writing.

At the beginning of every month, she posts a calendar with fun little holidays and suggestions of people to write to.

This past Wednesday, April 10th, was “encourage a young writer” day.

Incidentally, we went to a birthday party this past weekend for Ellie’s best friend, a 10-year-old who lives across the street.

I was going to buy her an indigo tie-dying kit, but it turns out she already has one.

And then when I saw the holiday “Encourage a Young Writer” day, it dawned on me — the perfect gift: a bundle of our cards with some stamps. (Honestly, I’m embarrassed I hadn’t thought of it sooner.)

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, but — she’s theatrical, artistic, likes reading, and loves making things. I know she’s going to love this gift! 😍🙌

And she didn’t get anything like this at her party. It’s not another stuffie that will clutter her room. And it might spark her to start writing to her friends over the summer.

How I got started:

I started writing letters to my best friends when I was in middle school.

My friend Elisabeth and I would write each other notes, and slip them in each other’s middle school lockers. (We’re still good friends, and now I send cards to her mailbox!)

Throughout my teens and twenties, I’d write long email exchanges, but my favorites were always handwritten letters. (There is honestly nothing as romantic as getting a handwritten letter in the mail. 😍🥳)

Letters were always more helpful to me than writing in my journal. I think it’s something about writing your deepest feelings and actually sharing that with someone. Writing gives me words for my feelings and tears are often shed. I am so glad I have this tool as I navigate life. 

How we can encourage young people to write handwritten notes

Even though “Encourage a Young Writer” day has passed, I hope you take ten minutes today to write a young person a note.

Letter writing is such an important tool to pass down to the younger generation. Writing to people isn’t just about etiquette, it’s a way to emotionally process life and to connect with someone in a way that might not otherwise be possible.

Often I seem to be the only person who writes more than a sentence in a birthday card to the young people in my life, but I love doing it as a gift. To affirm who they are, and make sure they know they are loved. And because aunts, uncles, my parents, and very special godmothers wrote to me when I was a kid, it’s important to me to pay it forward and pass it on.

Can you think of a young person who you could write to today?

I’d love to hear about how you became a snail mail sender too. Let me know in the comments!

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1 comment

My daughter, Scarlett, started writing notes to friends in the hospital when she was diagnosed with cancer at age 6. With the help of many friends, we now have “card projects” set up across the country. We write thousands of cards to kids with cancer – all hand written! We also believe in the power of the hand written note. You are an inspiration to us. Thank you for all you do for others. Best, Jennifer James, mother to Scarlett who inspires us every day. @the_scarlettfund

Jennifer James

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