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Center for Civic Engagement

Literacy Program

The CCE Literacy Programs offer WSU students service learning opportunities to work with children and youth in the community of Pullman, as well as the rural communities of Whitman County including Albion, Colton, Colfax, Garfield, and Palouse. By participating in Academic Mentoring, Pen Friends, and special event programs, WSU students have the chance to interact with K–12 youth in a meaningful learning experience that allows them to apply their academic knowledge in a real world setting and provides academic support for public school students. The most important reason to be involved, however, is to enrich the life of a child or youth.

WSU student mentors a child.

Click here to begin searching for opportunities on CougSync.

  • Pen Friends Letter Writing & Classroom Mentoring

    Pen Friends Relaunch Spring 2019

    Over the past twenty years, the Pen Friends Program through the WSU Center for Civic Engagement has continued to grow and expand since its inception in 1998.  Just last year, WSU students and elementary-aged youth exchanged over 3,000 letters during the sixteen weeks of the Program.  This popular program continues to be in high demand across campus and throughout the elementary schools in our region. 

    Unfortunately, recent budget and staffing changes at the CCE have resulted in the need to suspend Pen Friends temporarily.   The current plan is to relaunch the Program in the spring with an added STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) focus. Please stay tuned as we reimagine the Pen Friends Program. 

    For questions, please contact Tiffanie Braun at 509-335-0579 or email

    Thank you for your interest and support. 


    Pen Friends is a weekly letter exchange program that promotes literacy development in local elementary schools while giving WSU students a chance to become civically engaged. WSU students serve as Letter Writers or Classroom Mentors for the semester.

    Letter Writers write weekly letters to their assigned elementary pen friend for ten weeks during the semester. Classroom Mentors will go into their assigned classroom once a week for ten weeks to assist elementary students as they read and write their letter responses. WSU students may volunteer for one or both positions.

  • CCE-Led After School Program Mentoring

    CCE staff lead weekly projects to assist with several local after school programs for children and youth. At these programs, WSU students will assist children with homework, play games, and mentor them. The CCE provides free transportation for students, and background checks are generally not required for these projects.

    For more information about after school programs, visit the CougSync Literacy Portal or contact the CCE literacy team at

  • In-Class Academic Mentoring (CCE-Led & Semester Placements)

    The CCE has both semester-long placements and weekly CCE-led projects to provide local elementary students with academic support. This is a great way to gain valuable experience working one-on-one with students under the guidance of a teacher. You will have the opportunity to contribute to your community by providing students hands-on help.

    Semester-long projects can be found at the bottom of the CougSync Literacy Portal and are called "Classroom Assistance Placements". Students must provide their own transportation to these projects.

    CCE-led projects are listed in the "One-Time Service Opportunities" section of the CougSync Literacy PortalStudents can commit to as few or as many of these projects as desired throughout the semester. The CCE provides free transportation to these projects for WSU students.

    All academic mentors are required to complete a background check before they can participate in these projects, so be sure to complete your paperwork a minimum of four days prior to the project date to ensure you can join us on these great projects. More information on background checks is available in the project descriptions.

    For more information about academic mentoring projects, visit the CougSync Literacy Portal or contact the CCE literacy team at

  • Special Events: PTO/PTA Childcare Assistance

    To ensure local parents can participate in monthly Parent Teacher Organization/Association meetings, the CCE holds special projects where WSU students provide childcare during the meetings. This allows parents to stay civically engaged while WSU students have the opportunity to mentor local children. The CCE provides free transportation to these projects for WSU students.

    For more information about PTO/PTA childcare projects, visit the CougSync Literacy Portal or contact the CCE literacy team at