Pen pals meet for the first time

06/01/2021 | 2 mins (including 1 min video)

A group of pen pals have met in person after months of exchanging letters, as part of a program established by an intern pharmacist and graduate from The University of Western Australia.

Tahlia Parisella, 23, from Crawley who completed a Master of Pharmacy at UWA, started the pen pal program in early 2020, which connects elderly and socially-isolated pharmacy patients to primary school students from Bicton Primary School.

“It has been really great to get the community together to participate in such an inter-generational program like this,” Ms Parisella said.

“Social isolation has become so much more prominent because of COVID-19 and it’s been really great to see them keeping in touch."

Year 6 student Samantha said she enjoyed the opportunity to meet her pen pal for the first time, despite most of her class being very nervous.

“I really like the program because it lets me see what’s happening in someone else’s life and listen to how they’ve been feeling during the pandemic,” Samantha said.

Pharmacy patient Valerie Keogh, who joined the pen pal program, said she was always excited to open her pen pal’s letters and read about their future plans.

“They’ve all got plans about what they are going to do and how they are going to add value to the community, and that excites me,” Ms Keogh said.

Ms Parisella hopes to expand the program during 2021 to connect more elderly pharmacy patients with eager students from Bicton Primary School.

Media references

Nicholas Smith, UWA Media Officer, 08 6488 1888 / 0411 644 492

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