Letter-writing tips

Letter-writing tips

What should I write about?

Have writer's block? You are not alone. Most of us have that same problem from time to time. Check out our blog post on letter writing to help get you started.

Here are some helpful tips:

Download letter template

  • Offer encouragement and let them know you think about them often.
  • Ask about school and family. Tell your friend what you loved about school and about your family.
  • Share your background. How many brothers and sisters do you have? Recall a favorite childhood memory.
  • Talk about your favorite holiday tradition and ask how they celebrate holidays.
  • Ask about favorite foods, sports or activities.
  • Do you have pets or hobbies? Do you live near the ocean? Did you just have a 12-inch snowstorm?

Remember, it doesn't have to be long. Even a card or brief letter says, "I'm thinking about you."

Mailing your letter

Once you write your letter, we make it easy for you to send it on its way. We send you a set of mailing labels when you begin your sponsorship, and again with each letter you receive from your friend.

Here's how to use the handy address labels. If you ever need more, you can easily request some and we will mail them to you.

Simply take the letter to your neighborhood post office to send via international mail.

Once your letter arrives at the project office, our local staff will translate your letter and see that it gets to your friend.

Claudia's tip of the month archive

1. Visit your local library; they often have freebies, such as state maps, bookmarks, activity sheets and brochures that you could slip inside your letters.

2. Make a paper airplane, snowflake or other origami or kirigami (cut and folded paper) and send it in your letter. Here's a folded paper cup you can print. Fold it yourself to send along or mail it to your friend, who will have fun making the cup.

3. Do you ever see those little business card-sized calendars? Pick one up and send it to your friend. If your sponsored friend is an older person, you can often find business card-sized magnifiers that are flexible and flat.

4. If you have several small things to send (like stickers, ribbons, embroidery floss, etc.), consider putting them in a plastic bag. 

5. Repurpose advertising magnets. Glue on a photo of yourself, pictures from magazines, favorite quotes or Bible verses.

6. If your children bring home simple activity worksheets from school, make a copy of one and send it to your sponsored child.

7. You may receive free stickers or stamps in promotional mail. Some have pretty flowers or animals on them. Send them to your sponsored child, but avoid sending stickers with your name or address.

8. Stop by the visitors bureau or pick up travel brochures for places of interest. These brochures often have nice photos and tell about the history of the area. This could also give you some new writing ideas.

9. If you sponsor a school-aged child, encourage him or her to continue in school and ask about possibilities for college or trade schools. Most sponsored youth will be the first in their families to graduate high school. Tell them about your educational experiences and how you determined what college to go to, what to study, etc.

10. Print free coloring pages from the Internet to mail to your sponsored friend. One option: www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages

11. Draw your family tree and ask your sponsored friend about his or her family. This family tree template may be helpful.

12. Tell your friend about the special U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving where we reflect on all we have to be thankful for and gather with our family around a special meal. Ask whether your friend’s country has a similar holiday, what it’s called and how they celebrate it.

13. You can recycle a greeting card by cutting off the cover. Write a note on the back and send it to your sponsored friend.

Claudia's tip of the month

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