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Volunteer Spotlight: Ellie

Welcome back to the blog! This week, we are hearing from Ellie, a Letters Against Isolation volunteer. In her blogpost, Ellie writes about how she heard about LAI, why the mission of LAI is so important to her, and her tips for writing a spectacular card!



A little bit about myself – I live in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, a suburb southwest of Philadelphia. I am retired now and live in a 55 and over condominium. I have one daughter, who lives in Washington, DC. After I retired, I took care of my elderly father in my home for about five years.

I enjoy writing letters to seniors in retirement communities for several reasons.

For one, I like to write letters. I first became a pen pal when I was in fourth grade and wrote to a girl in Germany. We continued to write until I was about 30 years old. I met her in Germany and we both went on to get married and have a child, all the while still communicating. I communicated in French once I had a few years of the language in high school. One day, she just stopped writing but her last letter to me let me know her husband had a very serious car accident. I often wonder what happened. Over the years, I wrote letters to service men in Vietnam and Desert Storm. I always enjoyed writing to them and many times received letters back. When I was a young teen, I wrote to my neighbor’s nephew in Vietnam and he sent me a few addresses of servicemen who did not receive letters so I started writing to them also. It was very fulfilling to me to know I could do one small thing for them in comparison to what they were doing for us.

I have a very soft spot for seniors (although I turned 65 this month so am officially a senior myself). My father, who passed away at 96, lived with me for a number of years and spent the last two years of his life in a skilled nursing facility. I became very attached to many of the residents there and would witness lonely seniors who never had visitors and looked forward to any communication with outsiders. When I read about Letters Against Isolation, I thought about how much some of those seniors in that facility would have benefited from that.

I don’t have a favorite topic to write about but of course I only write about positive things. I do like to write about animals. My brother has a small farm with many animals so sometimes talk about that, and in my last group of letters, I sent photos of my daughter’s new puppy (who I happen to think is absolutely adorable). I like to ask about things they like to do and share a little about my hobbies of crocheting, sewing, felting, etc. I usually find some interesting topics, to bring up but always keep it light.

When I write to seniors, I like to bring up something about their city. I have traveled a lot over my lifetime, and if I have not been to their city, I Google and read about it somewhat so I can mention the interesting facts I have learned about their place of living.

I like to include riddles or interesting facts but keep them pretty simple. I have bought note cards that you color to give it a more personal touch. I also purchased a roll of stickers for the envelopes that say “Happy Mail Inside”. I picked up some Autumn note cards and have some ready for the holiday season also.

My goal is to just brighten someone’s day. If I can even put a smile on their face for just one minute, it makes it all worthwhile.

Ellie Dale


Thank you Ellie for sharing your story with the LAI community!

Do you want to share your story with the LAI community? If so, click here.


If you are interested in hearing more volunteer spotlights, click here.

If you'd like to hear about how your letters are being received by the seniors, click here.

If you are in need of some inspiration for your letters and cards, click here.


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Thanks for sharing your personal story, Ellie, and for bringing so much joy to our seniors with your warmth and positivity! Ellen R.

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