Marion, OH,
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OhioHealth Marion General Hospital Celebrates Successful Pen Pal Program Partnership


OhioHealth Marion General Hospital has partnered with the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities to spark community connections through a pen pal program.

It’s been eight months since the launch of a pen pal program connecting associates of OhioHealth Marion General Hospital with teens and adults served by Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities. So far, more than 40 pairs have been corresponding monthly, sending letters, cards, and postcards in the mail.

None of the pen-pal pairs have met in person, until now.  Recently Lynn Carey, site manager of pulmonary services at Marion General Hospital, met her pen pal, 12-year-old Maggie Purvis, for the first time.

Lynn and Carey have been sending letters back and forth – sharing stories about what’s going on in their lives and what’s new with their families. They’ve discovered they share the same passion for horses, and the same dedication to their faith.

"We pick out cards for each other, we pick out stationary, you take the time to write it down. Send pictures. It’s more of a thoughtful communication,” said Lynn.

“I like to write about things that go on at home, and school, and things that I do every day,” Maggie said.

Maggie and Lynn both had been looking forward to the day they would meet in person. On Friday February 23rd, they got to do that at the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and cameras captured the moment they met for the first time.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” Lynn said, while giving Maggie a hug.

“It’s nice to meet you too,” Maggie replied.

Maggie made sure to wear the bracelet Lynn had sent her in the mail.

For Maggie, the support from Lynn, who was a stranger until this moment, has meant a lot.

“I really enjoy getting her letters,” Maggie said.

For Lynn, making this connection with Maggie has been a rewarding experience.

“We’ve been pen-pal friends and now we’re going to have a face, a voice, an appearance, a memory,” Lynn said.

“It’s just special. I loved seeing Lynn and Maggie meet,” said Marianne Haught, human resources business partner for Marion General and Hardin Memorial hospitals. “[The program] has meant a lot to our associates and most of them are leaders in the organization. I think it also supports our OhioHealth value of inclusion.”

“We had this dream of just making more opportunities for the people that we serve to connect with people in the community,” said Nikki Workman, Director of Communications at Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “That’s all we need is that community support and we are definitely getting that through OhioHealth and we are thankful for that.”

The pen pal program isn’t the only way OhioHealth is supporting the Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Coming up Friday March 15 is the board’s Golden Gala at Tri-Rivers Career Center and OhioHealth is a premiere sponsor.

Last year, there were 156 guests with developmental disabilities and nearly 300 volunteers. The event is designed to create an inclusive party for those in the community with developmental disabilities, which includes a walk down the red carpet (lined with paparazzi), a DJ, dancing, a great meal, and many new friends to be made. 

Community members are welcome to get involved by signing up to volunteer, registering a guest who is living with developmental disabilities, or by becoming a sponsor or making a personal donation.

To register, volunteer, and donate, click here:

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