Marlborough teacher organizes note-writing initiative to cheer lonely residents

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Emily Woodsmall, one of Mark Vital’s AMSA student-athletes from Clinton, drove all the way to Marlborough to drop off notes for nursing home residents.
photo/submitted

Marlborough – Mark Vital, probably best known locally for his Sweats4Vets campaign each year, is at it again. This time, Vital is focusing on brightening the days of those currently in a group home, or nursing home, now that they cannot receive visitors due to the Covid-19 self-isolation mandate. As an English teacher at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School (AMSA), he originally suggested online that his students could hone their composition skills and perhaps bring a smile to someone who is currently alone.

His idea took off with parents and other community members as well, with participants writing letters and notes or making cards to send to complete strangers.

There are over 250 residents in the Marlborough Hills and The Reservoir who are isolated from their families. After hearing of the project, administrators at New Horizons and The Branches of Marlboro asked for cards as well.

“I thought that with so many students and adults at home, maybe looking for a fun project, this might be a cool thing to do,” explained Vital. “Marlborough residents can drop them off at Lost Shoe Brewing and Roasting Company on Weed Street and I will deliver them to the various group homes and senior living.”

“Please label them for Child, an Adult or the Elderly. If there is interest in other towns, I would be willing to set up drop-off places elsewhere, just reach out to me at m.vital@amsacs.org. If anyone has 30 or more, email an address and I will pick them up if they are in your mailbox in a grocery bag,” he added.

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Some guidelines from Vital include the following:
1. Letters must be legible (large print) and handwritten. No worries if you’re not artistic– make your card as what you’d like to receive.

  1. Avoid religion. Please refrain from including anything religious in your letters, such as religious quotes, words like “God,” etc.
  2. Exclude the date (day, month, and year).
  3. Embrace creativity! Recipients love it when the letters are personal. We encourage you to make your letters detailed, thoughtful and heartfelt.
  4. Be kind and thoughtful (more than talking about yourself). This is a one-way letter exchange, meaning you will not receive a letter back, so remember not to suggest the expectation of a reply.
  5. Envelope your letters if you can! It’s so much nicer to open an enveloped card.

Vital is the founder of Sweats4Vets, organizing the collection, wrapping and delivery of thousands of donated Boston-themed sweats to veterans across New England each year, providing warmth, pride, and hope. He teaches and coaches at AMSA in Marlborough and is the school’s Community Outreach Manager. He can often be seen walking Marlborough’s back roads and parks with his golden retrievers, hauling a yellow trash bag along to police the areas.