Writing assistants from Monmouth University’s Tutoring and Writing Services Department will meet the Asbury Park Middle School students they mentor through a pen pal program for the first time on April 23.
Monmouth University will host students from Mr. Williams’ fifth-grade class at an event that will begin at 10 a.m. with a campus tour. Students will have lunch at 11:30 a.m. in Magill Commons, room 107. Finally, they will go to Writing Services located in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center at 12:30 p.m. to meet members of the staff who are their pen pals.
The pen pal project began as a pilot during the spring 2013 semester. Neva Lozada, assistant director of Writing Services and Supplemental Instruction, designed the program after reading a journal article that described a pen pal project that other writing centers across the country had developed to connect with young writers in nearby communities. Lozada met with Marilyn Ward, former coordinator of Service Learning and Community Programs at Monmouth, who introduced her to Joyel Furges, culture and climate coach for Asbury Park Middle School. Furges loved the idea and was instrumental in coordinating the program. Since then, Writing Services has continued to partner with Mr. Williams’ fifth-grade class. This year marks the first full year of the project.
Through the pen pal program, Monmouth writing assistants are matched with fifth-graders at Asbury Park Middle School. The writing assistants and their respective pen pals exchange letters throughout the academic year. In late April, the fifth-graders have a chance to visit Monmouth University, tour the campus, and stop by Writing Services to meet their pen pals. In May, the writing assistants visit Asbury Park Middle School and work on a writing assignment with their assigned pen pals.
Lozada explains, “Not only do our writing assistants benefit by connecting with and inspiring future college students in our community, but the fifth-graders also benefit by enhancing their writing skills throughout the semester, learning the proper way to format letters, building self-confidence in communication skills, thinking about college and their future aspirations, and having a mentor at the university level.”
For additional information, please contact Neva Lozada at 732-263-5345.