Fourth-grade pen pal
"K-grams is fun because you learn about somebody you don't know and you become friends with them before you even know it! And it's fun writing letters!"
College freshman mentor
"I think it made a big difference to a lot of these kids to know that someone older and in an influential position is interested in sharing in their life. Plus we really felt more at home in our dorms through our connection with them."
K-grams was founded at the University of Michigan in 1998 by Rishi Moudgil and a team of college students who recognized a need for sustained involvement with local schools. They sought a way to provide college students with a simple onramp into service where they could share their talents. After K-grams expanded to a dozen campuses, the model was released as open-source and each local chapter has developed on their own.
The core of K-grams is the hand-written letter exchange that encourages authentic writing. College and elementary pen pals write letters every other week throughout the academic year to develop positive relationships and one-to-one connections
Our mission is to establish a strong community of learning for a wide range of college and elementary students, educators, and families by developing positive relationships that extend beyond the classroom
Pen pal parent
"My son spent more time at home working on his letters than anything he ever did at school."
BookMARK (Mentoring And Reading with Kids)
BookMARK is an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding program that brings college students into the classroom regularly to mentor and tutor. This unique program enables teachers to utilize their kids' college mentors in the best way possible for lesson planning!
Elementary teacher, Detroit
"It's great for the kids to write for a purpose. They are much more motivated to learn to read and write, and it makes my job easier. Plus, they love getting mail!"
Class projects are "edu-active" ("educational" and "interactive") activities that college students bring into the elementary classrooms. These special "kids programs" provide college students with an opportunity to visit the classrooms on a regular basis and work with students face-to-face on areas of expertise.
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Annual Kids Fair
Big and little kid pals, teachers, parents, and faculty are invited to an on-campus fair to experience a day of "edu-active" (a combination of "educational" and "interactive") learning. College volunteers sponsor booths that showcase a talent or activity they can share with school-aged kids. Pen pals can learn together at the college campus while also allowing them to meet in person.
Third-grade elementary school teacher
"The letters are a real-life extension of our language arts work. It's also very helpful to have our entire third grade participate along with the university."
College student group leader
The best thing we did all year was our science projects with the K-grams classroom! So fun!!
Events such as "K-Day" (Kids-Day), Teacher's Pet Day, and other special trips to campus allow young pals the chance to feed their curiosities about the ins and outs of student life and learn more about college. Highlights include: learning exciting science techniques, snapping photos at campus hot spots, touring the campus library, and sharing a meal in the residence halls.