American Children Gain Iraqi Pen Pals

Letters Exchanged From Kids In Maine And Boston Captain Brian Von Kraus was in Anbar four years ago.  He was part of a Marine Corps unit involved in some of the heaviest building-to-building fighting that has occurred in the fight against the terrorist insurgency.  For his efforts Captain Von Kraus was awarded the Silver Star. Now, he finds himself back in Anbar province, but he is pleased to be involved in a different sort of mission.  He is privileged to be able to help children from the United States to communicate with pen pal letters to Iraqi students. Captain Von Kraus is the creator of Operation Iraqi Pen Pal, which is a program that helps bridge the distance between young people in the local Iraqi schools, and students from Maine and Boston schools. The letter-writing project recently was able to deliver the first batch of seventy letters from Iraqi school children to different schools in the United States.  The students from the United States then wrote more than one hundred response letters, waiting to be given to the children from Iraq. “All many of the people in America see is negatives of this war, crimes, suicide bombs, IED devices,” said Captain Von Kraus. “With this letter program, the kids on both sides can see the good things about the others lives, the reality that life is much more than the negatives they may see on TV,” said Captain Van Kraus. The program started small in September 2007, with a single email and a couple letters.  It has grown to a program that is now being features in several of the Boston area public schools, and promises to grow even larger.

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