STAMFORD, Conn. -- Count fifth-grader Dante Ayars as a fan of the program that matches Stamford students up with an "ePal" from General Electric.
"I really like it," said Dante, a student at KT Murphy in Stamford. "We get to communicate with people from other jobs and then get to meet them."
His ePal, Chris Linehan, has worked for GE Asset Management for 15 years. This is the second year Linehan has been involved in the program.
"I had a great time exchanging emails with Dante. I was just really impressed with his messages from Day 1," Linehan said. "It was something I looked forward to doing, sending those emails and hearing back his responses to my questions and sharing a little about myself. It was really gratifying."
They spoke at the Cove Island Beautification and Cleanup as fourth- and fifht-graders from KT Murphy, along with their GE ePals and Cove Island Park Conservancy members, went to work. They planted tree saplings and removed garbage. The project helps to fulfill the students' community service requirements while also improving the park the students often use due to the limited green space at their nearby school.
It's the last event for the year -- but it is also the first time the students and the ePals meet.
The program matches the students from KT Murphy School with an "ePal" from GE. They exchange emails throughout the year. The day of community service was mostly about the fun with a variety of activities throughout the day with the pals.
Wendy Carroll from GE, in her first year in the program, said she enjoyed her time with her student, Kylie.
"It was really great to connect with another child who wasn't my child," Carroll said about her interactions with her e-pal. "It was nice to be able to converse with her and share with her my experiences with my children and try to hep her and talk with her. It was building a rapport with her was really nice."
The program began 20 years ago as a pen pal program. It is used to help the students meet state standards for technology by learning about keyboarding. The students have to draft, edit and revise their letters under the supervision of their teachers before they are sent to their ePals.
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