Maybe you can’t travel the world right now, but your letters can!
Kutztown Community Library began the International Pen Pal Program with Altrip, Germany, on Dec. 1.
Kutztown and Altrip will officially become sister cities in early 2021. Residents can start to get to know each other through this opportunity, and someday, the two communities may host mutual visits or an exchange program with students.
The pen pal program is open to ages 12 and up. When registering, participants can specify their preferences for a pen pal: age, gender, and how often they would like to write. They will choose between English, German, and Pennsylvania Dutch (which is still very similar to its root language, Palatine German).
The program especially needs German speakers at the moment, and English speakers can join the waitlist for a pen pal.
They can also list hobbies if they’d like to be paired with someone who has similar interests. Once they register and are matched with someone in Altrip, the letter-writing begins!
Participants can drop off their completed letters at Kutztown Community Library without postage, and the library will mail them from there. If they would like, participants can arrange with their pen pal to write directly or correspond by email instead.
Pen pals get to experience the excitement of meeting someone an ocean away.
"I hope with the International Pen Pal Program, residents of Kutztown and the surrounding areas can explore and learn about another part of the world, especially now when we can't travel," said Mackenzie Keller, Assistant Librarian at Kutztown Community Library and coordinator of the pen pal program.
"I can't wait to see what the program will become in a few years; hopefully, people will have made lasting and meaningful connections with the citizens of Altrip, from 4,000 miles away."
What could be a better way to learn about the world from home?
This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Kutztown Community Library and in collaboration with the Borough of Kutztown and Mayor Jim Schlegel, the Kutztown Area Historical Society, and Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center.
If interested, sign up at the Kutztown Community Library or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the registration form. The Library is located at 70 Bieber Alley in Kutztown and can be reached at 610-683-5820.