Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 25 2013

Second Annual Dear Successful Stranger

My friends! My loves! My strangers!

The planning has begun, the program is back. Welcome to the Second Annual Dear Successful Stranger project. This week I had a number of my new students and a parent ask me about the pen-pal program. They cannot wait to get started!

Improvements from last year:

  • After a number of pen-pals said that just obtaining a stamp and envelop was a barrier to a timely response, this year you will be provided with the addressed envelop (and, budget permitting, all your stamps!)
  • Beacuse I only have two classes of students this year, only 65 penpals are needed. This means better communication from me, more updates, and more chances to connect on a deeper level with a sixth grader.
  • Successful Strangers will commit to buying at least one book for their sixth grade pen-pal for a holiday gift. Students will choose this book from Scholastic, and pen-pals will order books on-line. This both ensures students get a book they genuinely want to read AND gives my classroom more points to order less expensive books for our class library!

Without further ado, here is this year’s google form. Please make this as viral as it was last year by distributing it on facebook, twitter, email, or whatever else.

But Caroline, I can’t commit to being a pen-pal this year but still want to help. What can I do? I’m so glad you asked! For this project to work, I’m looking for the following:

  • As many stamps as possible! If you can donate actual stamps (a roll, a couple books, or just a few stamps) it would be a HUGE benefit to my students. We need 220 stamps to cover all student-to-penpal letters, and another 275 to cover the bare minimum of ALL letters sent both ways. THat’s 495 stamps!
  • A sponsorship for an account at (this could be a long shot! It’s $15.99 a month)
  • Mail an inspirational letter, books for our library, or any items we can add to our class store to our classroom:
    Ms. Lampinen
    710 S Cherry St
    Dumas, AR 71639

Thank you, so much, for your continued support of our town and our students. If this year is half as wonderful as last year was, my students and I will be thrilled!


For reference, here is the description of the program on this year’s form:

Dear Successful Stranger 2013-14

Welcome to the second year of the Dear Successful Stranger project! After an overwhelming positive response in the 2012-13 school year, Ms. Lampinen’s Literacy class is again looking for “successful strangers” across the world to partner in bringing inspiration, exposure, and love to students in the Arkansas Delta.
The project has three primary goals:
  1. Allow students to write for an authentic audience, resulting in a genuine love for writing
  2. Expose students to a variety of careers and geographic locations around the world
  3. Give students a personal relationship with a role model who is invested in education and quality of life for all people
This year, Ms. Lampinen only has two classes of students, which means there are only 50 students who will get pen-pals. Because of this, only 65 strangers are needed to be pen-pals (with 10 kept in reserve for last minute or mid-year cancellations and potential new students). With such a huge interest last year, we’re excited to see who can partner with us to bring the best quality pen-pal to each student this year.
Ms. Lampinen is looking for 65 committed individuals who can fulfill the following responsibilities to students:
  1. Write at least four letters by the appropriate deadlines. You will be given content suggestions, envelopes, and (budget-permitting!) stamps for all of your letters.
  2. In December, purchase at minimum one book that will cost no more than $10 from the Scholastic Book Clubs. This allows you to ship directly to my classroom, and gives students the opportunity to pick a book they genuinely want to read.
  3. Maintain consistent communication with Ms. Lampinen throughout the school year to verify addresses, letter send-offs, and letter arrivals.
To apply to be a pen-pal, please complete the following form. If this isn’t the best fit for you this year, you can still help by sharing this link with everyone you know, and following our us on social media. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your interest in this project.
Instragram: misslampinen

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