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COVID-19 pen pals: Westlake restaurant connects kids with nursing home residents

Northeast Ohio youngsters have been paired with residents at Sunrise Senior Living as pandemic pen pals.

WESTLAKE, Ohio — A handwritten letter is one of life's simple acts that's a truly heartfelt gesture. 

Turning off the cell phone, putting pen to paper and taking the time to catch up with a friend in an old-fashioned way. It's an act of kindness they are doing at Hail Mary's Bar and Grill in Westlake

"It's part of our core value," said owner Julie Novack said. "Give back to the community we work in.

While maintaining her business, Novack started "Matter of Kindness," which is a movement to provide positivity to the community.

One way is through creating pen pals with area girls and the seniors that live right across the street at Sunrise Senior Living.

"We get paired up with people that are like us or played the same sports that we did," said freshman Grace Lavecchia. 

It's a way to connect different generations. 

"I enjoy it and I hope they do, too," said 4th grader Callie Jae. "I hope it lifts their spirits more knowing they have someone to write to."

All while getting an insight into each others' lives when life is anything but normal.

"We see magic happen when the residents connect with the younger generation," said Mariah Marcino, Activities and Volunteer Coordinator at Sunrise Senior Living. 

During tough times, sometimes it's the simplest of things that mean the most.


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