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The Hands4Hope Pen Pal Program

For the past year, Hands4Hope youth (from elementary to college age) have participated in an ongoing pen pal program with ASCAR Project Uganda. From discussions on the differences between Californian and Ugandan climates to studies and holidays, these pen pals have covered a diverse set of topics and spent the year learning about a culture different from their own.

The goal of this Pen Pal Program is to encourage greater awareness and empathy in Hands4Hope youth participants through communication with individuals from different walks of life. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day functions of a local community, but there is a world beyond El Dorado County that calls for attention. Writing to ASCAR Project youth encourages this mindfulness and critical thinking in both H4H youth and ASCAR Project youth.

Below are some excerpts from both Hands4Hope and ASCAR youth participants:

“I am so happy to have you as my pen pal and am really lucky. You asked me what is net ball… this is a game played by seven players each side with a ball and the aim shooting into your opponent’s goal and the goals you shoot the higher the chances of winning and its now international. My country Uganda is the seventh in the world rankings.”

California is great! I live in Northern California and right now it’s pretty hot. This week it will get to be as hot as 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 40 degrees Celsius)! We use Fahrenheit in the United States. You use Celsius right? How is the weather where you are?”

“In Uganda the weather is cool. We do have rainfall all over the year and we also have beautiful beaches like resort beach, lido beach, sports beach, and many others. I like reading books and if possible I would like to know whether you also like reading books. Can’t wait to hear from you.”

“My favorite type of food is probably Hawaiian food. That is where my family is from. I really enjoy poke, which is raw fish, with rice, seasoning, seaweed, lettuce and a spicy sauce. What is your favorite type of food? I listen to all kinds of music but right now my favorite artist is probably Khalid. Is he popular in your country? If you can you should listen to his songs “Location”, “8TEEN”, and “Therapy”. What’s your favorite kind of music and who is your favorite artist?

“Uganda is much in local news and really so funny. Can you imagine a president ruling for 31 years now someone goes ahead to scrap the age limit from the constitution and this comes after taking away the term limit there by paving way for life presidency in a poor country like Uganda. Now even security has loopholes here.”

To learn more about the Hands4Hope Pen Pal Program or to participate as a pen pal, please contact Maddy Gorrell ( for more information.

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