By Zaira Vaquero
Junior Mairead Addicks is getting in touch with kids in Mexico through writing letters and has encouraged other Novato High students to join her Pen Pal club. The club meets twice a month on Thursdays during lunch in Mrs.Coconubo’s classroom.
Club members put pencil to paper during their first meeting of the year on September 21st. Members wrote introductory letters in English to the organization “Peace” which helps kids learn English.
“I’ve decided to get a group of people here to write letters to them in English,” Addicks said, as she hopes to expand the children’s knowledge while helping them to understand a new language.
For the last three years, Addicks has been visiting Mexico and helping out with the organization in order to make a difference in the lives of many teens.
“My grandparents moved to Mexico three years ago and they live in a small town called Punta de Mita,” said Addicks. “I’ve been helping out the kids in the local school whenever I go down there.”
Approximately 30 students showed up to the first meeting, one of them being Juliana Campos, a Junior at Novato.
“I think that it's a cool idea for a club,” said Campos. “Knowing that I’m going to get a response back is kinda cool,” she continued.
As Mairead's dad visits her grandparents he takes the liberty to hand deliver the decorated letters to the organization's location in Punta de Mita. Responses arrive with Addick’s father in two weeks. There members will receive information on their assigned person and the process will repeat itself for the remainder of the semester.
“It’s easy to do and it makes a big difference,” said senior Ryan Pavone. “It’s cool to talk to another kid, and to get to see what their life is like.”
“I would love to form relationships with the kids…have them become better at English, so that the next time I go there and help them [Peace] teach english, they will be able to understand more and be able to speak more, write more,” said Addicks. “I think that’s really important for them...Learning english for those kids is kind of their way out of a bad situation.”
This is Mairead's second time exposing Novato high students to Peace. Last year she asked the school to donate art supplies that would be delivered to Punta de Mita. She got lots of donations and possibly plans on working with both the organization and Novato high students in the future through similar club ideas.