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Need a friend while practice social distancing? This organization wants to help.

Courtesy Idaho Humanities Council
BOISE — One Idaho organization hopes to connect people through a forgotten form of communication while the state remains under a 21-day stay-home order.
The Idaho Humanities Council launched the Dear Pen Friend program to connect Idahoans to others in a time when social distancing is keeping many inside their homes.
“One of the things we absolutely firmly believe is that human connection is something that is critical for us,” said Idaho Humanities Council Executive Director David Pettyjohn.
Jennifer Holley with the Idaho Humanities Council saw a similar program created in Oregon and wanted to bring it to Idaho.
“It’s a way for Idahoans to stay connected while they’re staying indoors as well as learning from each other,” Pettyjohn said. “Doing something in this age of technology that people don’t do as often. Which is just writing a letter to someone.”
He said an Idahoan who subscribes to their email newsletter is stranded in Latin America and signed up for the program after wanting to connect with those at home.
“We’ve also heard from people planning to move to Idaho,” Pettyjohn said. “They signed up as a way of establishing a new friend when they get to the state to learning about where they’re moving to.”
As the program continues, Pettyjohn hopes more will share their experiences with building connections through the Dear Pen Friend program.
Those interested can email Holley with their contact information where she will connect them with another person. The Idaho Humanities Council will even mail a set of six stamps for those who coordinate with the organization to find a pen pal.
For those who would rather email a pen pal, the Idaho Humanities Council will also coordinate with them.
“It’s our small part at helping Idahoans maintain some level of communication with each other,” Pettyjohn said.

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