CHARLOTTE, NC — Few forms of communication carry more emotion than a handwritten letter. But there are also hidden benefits of putting pen to paper. And with more research highlighting the benefits of handwriting for both children and senior citizens, Eric Mower + Associates helped Domtar create PaperPal, a handwritten correspondence program between elementary school students and members of a retirement community.
The PaperPal program will help youths develop fine motor skills and seniors engage in a useful cognitive exercise, and give both groups a way to create enjoyable and enriching connections.
“Research about the benefits of handwriting shows why this program can be useful,” said Paige Goff, Domtar’s Vice President of Sustainability and Business Communications. “But besides the educational and cognitive benefits, Domtar is excited about how it will spark smiles and hugs for both children and senior citizens. We love the creative ideas that EMA delivers and helps us bring to life.”
Domtar tested the program in 2015 with an elementary school and retirement community in Van Nuys, Calif. It was so successful that the groups wanted to continue writing letters even after the initial two-month program officially ended. PaperPal will expand to Wisconsin locations near a Domtar mill and is available to other facilities. The program will also roll out in several other communities, from Arkansas to Ontario, Canada.
PaperPal marks the latest initiative in Domtar’s PaperBecause campaign, whose two ongoing themes are encouraging people to go back to handwriting and highlighting paper’s importance in our lives. Since its launch in 2010, the PaperBecause campaign has won several of the most prestigious awards in marketing, including a Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a bronze Clio award in the Digital category, and a Merit Award for Product and Mobile Integration from The One Show. PaperBecause has also been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and Communication Arts.