In 2013 at the age of 13, Jacob Cramer noticed how lonely it could be for elders who find themselves living at a distance from family, with fewer and fewer friends or others to help care for them. This realization blossomed into a simple, creative, and powerful plan to express kindness for elders through handwritten—and sometimes beautifully illustrated—anonymous letters. He launched Love for the Elderly, first with his classmates and friends, then with his website, which deftly publicizes this project that is quickly becoming an international movement.
Recently, he took time out to share with us a little more about this effort and to invite us all to join him in showing our Love for the Elderly.
Why letters, especially growing up in the Internet age?
Handwritten letters have a greater depth of meaning and value. Receiving an email from someone just isn't the same as having a tangible letter in your hands. Also, the letters are very decorative and creative, making them all the more special for the recipients. Nevertheless, we do offer online letter writing through our website, but we encourage people to take the time to handwrite their letters.
Tell us about a few of the most memorable letters you’ve received.
A lady in Texas named Stephanie Nelson sent us two large packages of letters when Love for the Elderly was just starting out, and they were beautifully written and illustrated. Her letters encouraged me to keep on publicizing Love for the Elderly, and not to give up.
How do you motivate your classmates and friends to get involved?
Actually, my classmates and friends aren't really the ones who involve themselves in Love For The Elderly. I had a couple friends who helped out at the very beginning, but the key contributors are people like YOU! Strangers send me packages of letters daily just to be kind! It's really marvelous, and I cannot believe that I, a fourteen-year-old, am positively impacting the lives of so many elderly people. To this date, I have received thousands upon thousands of letters! Social media and the Love For The Elderly website, lovefortheelderly.org
What does love mean to you?
Love means showing immense kindness to another human being unconditionally, supporting them through challenging times and being by their side.
What is your most treasured everyday expression of love?
My most treasured everyday expression of love is compliments. Giving compliments to people is wonderful, and it often starts a chain reaction of happiness and positivity.
What is your greatest obstacle to love? How do you overcome it?
The greatest obstacle to love is actually taking the time out of your day to show others that you care. You must put extra effort into showing compassion and kindness toward others.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I encourage you to write letters for our organization! You have the power to put a smile on an elderly person's face! To learn more about how you can write letters and where you can send them, visit our website, lovefortheelderly.org