2024 Seedling Summer Postcards Pen Pal Program
February 26, 2024
Seedling

Caregivers and mentees understand from the onset of the relationship that Seedling is a school-based program, therefore mentors have contact with the children only at school. There are two approved options for staying in contact through the summer: Summer Postcards through Seedling via the U.S. mail and SMS/Texting (SMS/Texting available for current MS and HS matches only).

The Summer Postcards option is simple and requires just a little advanced planning. The SMS/Texting option is available for current MS and HS matches only, requires that your mentee possess their own phone, and that both parties opt in once added to the platform. Both options require caregiver approval.

May 3rd is the deadline for making the arrangements.

Follow these simple steps to have everything in place before the school year ends.
First, ask your mentee if they would like to exchange postcards, and if yes:

  • Ask your School Contact and/or Mentor Director to request permission from your mentee’s caregiver for the exchange of postcards between you and your mentee.
  • Ask your Mentor Director to confirm your mentee’s address with your School Contact.
  • Address mail to your mentee using this format:
    • Your mentee’s name
    • c/o Seedling Foundation
    • 8001 Centre Park Drive, Suite 140
    • Austin, 78754
  • Seedling will forward your postcard to your mentee at the address we confirm with the school.
  • We will not be sharing your mentee’s address with you.
  • You might consider an end of the year gift of pre-addressed and stamped postcards your mentee can use to write to you. Use the same format outlined above except substitute your name for your mentee’s. It also might be helpful to review with your mentee how to mail a postcard from their home. Be prepared for and don’t be discouraged if your mentee doesn’t send them.
  • If your mentee sends a postcard to you, we will ensure that it is forwarded to your home address. We will not share your address with your mentee.
  • Mentors outside AISD: Please allow for extra time for the process.

Important note: Write notes that are genuine, casual, and age appropriate. Assume that your postcards will be read by family members. We recommend typing or printing, as some students have not learned to read cursive handwriting easily. And finally, know that your mentee enjoys hearing from you, even if you do not hear back from the student.

Be prepared that your mentee’s family may move during the summer before receiving your postcard and it may never arrive. If that happens and the letter is returned to Seedling, we will alert you to the undelivered postcard.

If you have already opted into the Seedling supported SMS/Texting program you may simply continue to exchange messages throughout the summer. 

  • This program is only available to matches currently mentoring at a Middle School or High School
  • If you are an eligible match who has not yet opted in:
    • Ask your Mentor Director to confirm caregiver permission, that the student possesses their own phone, and to confirm the phone number.
    • Once added to the SMS, you and your mentee will receive welcome messages and instructions on how to opt into the program. 
    • Once both have opted in, you can begin communicating right away. Be sure to save that number as your mentee, and remind your mentee to save the number as you.
    Important note: Texting is not necessarily familiar to all of our mentees, and during the summer they may respond inconsistently, or not at all. Also, phones are often misplaced or broken, and sometimes taken away as punishment, which will also affect your mentee’s ability to respond.

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