Sheri Sather created an Instagram page called Power of Pen Pals after a road trip where her son, Justin met Sammie, one of his pen pals, hundreds of miles away. Eight-year-old Justin has been communicating with Sammie and other children and Sheri decided to turn a family vacation into a chance for her sons to meet Sammie.
They met Perise Forbi, a college student working in Cameroon to reduce the overwhelming plastic pollution in his country . Perise reached out to Justin, through the Power of Pen Pals page for ideas to manage the plastic he and others have been collecting.
Through Power of Pen Pals, many conservationists have stepped forward with ideas.
Justin, who created an organization called Justin's Frog Project (For the Love of Frogs), has been inspired by children and young adults all over the world and has created a map(?) that shows where they all live. One of his goals is to visit each of them, just as he visited Sammie, in Indiana.
Sammie Vance approached her mother with an idea when she was little more than eight years old. Her mom, Heidi, helped Sammie make an appointment with her school's principal, who would need to sign off on the idea. Sammie, herself a little shy, wanted to discuss how she could recycle plastic bottle caps into a Buddy Bench that would encourage even the most shy students to find new friends. Her project was so successful, her school now has two benches and she has created a global movement before her 10th birthday!
Power of Pen Pals connects people from all demographics who want to make the world better, whether by eliminating loneliness or wiping out plastic pollution so the world's frogs aren't wiped out.
This podcast goes beyond Power of Pen Pals by bringing Justin, Perise and Sammie together for our listeners. You can read their individual stories on buneke.org.