Fourth- and fifth-grade students from Miller Perry Elementary School will partner with senior residents from Asbury Place and Wexford House to exchange letters. Selected students in grades two through five from John Adams Elementary School will correspond with members of the Kingsport Senior Center.
Domtar’s support includes providing the participating schools and senior facilities with stationery, pencils, crayons, glue and stamps.
“Research suggests there are multiple benefits to letter writing for people of all generations,” says Bill MacPherson, Kingsport mill manager for Domtar. “As a company, we have seen firsthand the educational and cognitive benefits for students and seniors provided by this program at some of Domtar’s other locations. Equally important has been the personal connection made between the kids and their senior pen pals. We look forward to seeing this program become a success here in Kingsport as well.”
Domtar first tested the program in 2015 through a partnership between a school and a retirement community in Van Nuys, California. The idea was so successful that the groups wanted to continue writing letters after the initial two-month program officially ended. Since then, the program has been expanded to include other Domtar locations throughout Canada and the United States.
“Our students recently finished reading a book in which the main character, an elementary student, has a senior pen pal,” says Shannon Brashear, a fifth-grade teacher at Miller Perry Elementary School. “For the students, this is a fun activity that mirrors a book they appreciated. As a teacher, I know the students are not only enjoying themselves, but learning some valuable skill sets as well.”
Maggie Cooper, director of lifestyles and wellness at Asbury Place, indicates the program will be equally beneficial to seniors.
“The PaperPal program is a great fit for our residents,” Cooper says. “We are focused on wellness, and writing letters to local students will allow our residents to engage in meaningful interactions while participating in a cognitive exercise.”
Throughout 2016, the Kingsport mill is commemorating its milestone anniversary with local activities and events that reinforce the operation’s longstanding dedication to the Kingsport community. Some of these activities have included a $10,000 contribution to Healthy Kingsport; planting 100 trees along both sides of Fort Henry Drive, beginning at Memorial Park and ending near Center Street; and a $12,000 donation to the Kingsport Fire Department for the purchase of a new educational tool.
Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products, including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products. With approximately 9,800 employees serving in more than 50 countries around the world, Domtar is driven by a commitment to turn sustainable wood fiber into useful products that people rely on every day. Domtar’s annual sales are approximately $5.6 billion and its common stock is traded on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Domtar’s principal executive office is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.
For more information, contact Kezia Murphy,
human resource advisor at Domtar’s Kingsport mill, at 423-392-2710.