Ellie’s Hope Factory encourages via letter writing
Ellie Johnson, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Rocky Mountain School first grader, has started Ellie’s Hope Factory as a way to help people stay connected and spread hope in this time of social distancing.
Unable to meet with others for play dates, and because of the mandated school closures due to COVID-19, Ellie’s mom and CN citizen Jennifer Johnson suggested to Ellie that she start writing letters to her friends.
“Ellie was missing her friends, couldn’t have a play date, couldn’t have anybody over, couldn’t really talk to anybody because most kids her age don’t have a cell phone or anything like that to communicate,” Jennifer said. “So I had suggested to her one day that she write a letter to a couple of her friends from her class that she was missing.”
Jennifer got Ellie the supplies to start her letter-writing venture, and Ellie has since written to friends, family members and others who have heard about what she is doing.
“She started looking for more people to write to, so she wrote to some more of her friends, and she wrote to her grandparents and her aunts and uncles and cousins and anybody she could think of to write to,” Jennifer said. “She started asking the people at the end of the letters if they would write back to her. So she has gotten several letters in the mail and is super excited everyday to check the mail and see what she’s gotten.”
Ellie said she is enjoying what she is doing.
“I like talking to people and sending them letters because it’s fun for me and fun for them,” she said.
Through this venture, Jennifer and Ellie encourage others to start their own chain of letters to family and friends.
They also started the Facebook group “Ellie’s Hope Factory” to spread the message.
“That’s kind of why we started the page was because she wanted to continue that,” Jennifer said. “She wanted other kids doing the same thing. I told her maybe we could have more kids write to people. It just makes you feel good to get a letter in the mail.”
Since starting the Facebook group in April, people have sent her letters and supplies to keep up her work.
“She’s totally enjoying it, and the goal really is to have other people do it, kids especially but even adults, just to stay in contact and to share some joy while we really can’t get out and just visit with people like we normally would,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer said to expand the project, they would like to start writing to residents of nursing homes and possibly conduct a contest on Facebook.
Jennifer said a personal goal of hers is for Ellie to have a learning experience from this.
“I have older kids too, and a lot of older kids don’t necessarily know how to address a letter,” she said. “She’s learned her address. She’s kind of learned how to format a letter. I let her do her thing, so it’s very loose. She’s still writes how she writes and spells how she spells and that’s OK.”