A Billings man is making it his mission to create life long friendships one letter at a time.
"Hearts for seniors" is a new pen pal program in the Billings community.
It's designed to match people to senior citizens living in retirement homes.
KULR-8's Mary Jane Belleza spoke to Hearts for Seniors creator Michael Wilder about the importance of reaching out and how a handwritten letter can go a long way.
"The idea kind of just started with the pen pal idea and I attached a Facebook page to my personal page. It was very easy to do that and I kind of just went in and set it up. I initially just told all of my family and friends, like this is something that I was compelled to do," said Wilder
That compelling feeling made him reach out to his friend Synja Serrano who works at a local retirement community. She says she jumped on board right from the start.
"We will pick residents and hopefully as it progresses, then they can go back and forth and I was hoping we could do little lunch-ins, little meetings and make a whole activity out of it," said Serrano. "So it brings the community together in our facility with our residents and just make it great."
As of right now, Wilder said the letters will be sent to one retirement home but he's hopeful as the program progress, he'll be able to send a lot more letters to more facilities.
Wilder said this small gesture makes the biggest difference in reducing loneliness and feelings of abandonment.
"So that's my goal is to get people to shine that light and just keep people from again being lonely and afraid," Wilder adds. "That just really broke my heart to hear that and I don't want other people to go through that and that's what this is all about."
If you would like to take part in Wilder's pen pal program, you can send a personal message to Michael Wilder on the Hearts for Seniors Facebook page.