Pen Pals With a Purpose: Catholic Students Write Letters to Ukrainian Peers

Tags: Currents Catholic Education, Crux, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Pope Francis, World News

Currents News Staff

From a simple ‘hello’ to a carefully crafted heart, the students at St. Theresa School in Oakland, California want the children of Ukraine to know they care.

“In social studies, we see the news and honestly it’s pretty sad,” said 7th-grader Brianna Coyle.

Brianna Coyle and Sophia Cruz Hernandez are leading the way to get these letters into the hands of children who’ve fled the war.

“Definitely makes me rethink about the things we have and just helping them makes me feel a little bit better,” said Sophia.

Their teacher Chris Lynch came up this idea as a way for his students to process some sadness and give some support.

“Let’s write to these students and say we’ve got your back,” said Chris. “We’re with you. Somebody halfway around the world is thinking of you.”

“So if they read this, then they know somebody is out there and they care and love them,” said Ada Ukoha-Ajike.

And word of these letters spread quickly throughout the school.

“We started just in 7th grade,” said Chris, “however the rest of the school found out about it and they’re like ‘wait we want to write letters too,’ that’s really cool.”

All 200 plus students – kindergarten through eighth grade – they’re all on board. Lucas Lee is in the fourth grade and wants Ukrainian children to know it’s safe in America.

“Maybe they’ll have a better life here in the US and then once the war is over they can go back to Ukraine and rebuild their house and have a better life,” said Lucas.

Alicia Ortegon is the school principal and says service to others is a big part of their mission.

“They want to do something positive and that they have the ability to do so and we’re really trying to grow future leaders,” said Alicia.

As for these two young leaders — they’re pretty proud of their school for getting behind Ukraine.

Brianna Coyle, 7th Grade Student: “Rather than just sitting back they can actually make a difference by writing a simple letter,” said Brianna Coyle.

According to UNICEF, some two-million children have fled the war in Ukraine in search of safety.