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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 in-class and after-school 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 while providing 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.
  • Pen Friends Letter Writing & Classroom Mentoring

    Pen Friends Spring 2021

    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.  In one year, WSU students and elementary-aged youth exchange 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. 

    Pen Friends relaunched spring 2019 with an added STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) focus. Currently, the Pen Friends Program is only offered each spring semester for eight weeks. For Spring 2021, the CCE will be offering a modified Pen Friends program that will allow WSU students to safely exchange letters with their Pen Friends bi-weekly throughout the spring and exchange six letters.


    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 can serve as Letter Writers or Classroom Mentors for the semester.  NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic the Classroom Mentor positions will be on hold for the Spring 2021 semester. 

    Letter Writers write bi-weekly letters to their assigned elementary pen friend throughout the semester for a total of six letter exchanges.

    In order to participate as a Letter Writer, you must attend an Orientation session, commit to writing six letters according to the posted deadlines and attend a final reflection session.  Register for a Spring 2021 Pen Friends Orientation here.

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

    Thank you for your interest and support. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.