11 Days of Service 2020

This Fall as part of our 11 Days of Service community initiative, RBNY staff, with the collaboration of Jersey Cares, provided social interaction with senior citizens by becoming pen pals to residents currently under isolation.  


Kara Ruff, who’s a Sales Academy Representative at RBNY, not only exchanged letters with her pen pal, Stephanie, but she went above and beyond and made sure to send her flowers and a puzzle for her 98th birthday. 


“My first letter to my pen pal was basically an introduction letter. I expressed how excited I was to meet her. After I received a letter back from Stephanie, I learned it was her birthday on October 3rd, and she was turning 98,” said Kara. “I had to send her something for her birthday because it was so close, and I wanted to do something special to make her smile. I had flowers shipped to her room and sent her a puzzle as well because she said she loves doing puzzles in her free time.”


One of the reasons that made Kara participate in this initiative was that her mom and  great grandparents had great experiences with their pen pals. 


“I’ve done pen pals in the past and always loved them,” she said. “My mom has had pen pals, my great grandparents have also had pen pals in the past, and they always talked about how much the letters made their day. I wanted to do the same for someone else, especially knowing how much it would mean during times like these.”


Without a doubt these COVID-19 times have made it difficult for senior citizens under isolation, but luckily Kara had the opportunity to provide Stephanie plenty of reasons to smile. 


“Receiving my last letter from Stephanie warmed my heart,” said Kara. “To hear she was so surprised when she got my flowers and puzzle really made my day. We plan to stay in touch even after our pen pal letters/11 Days of Service ends.”