Tuesday, 26 March 2019 08:30

Domtar Corporation Connects Old Pointe Elementary Students and Local Law Enforcement Through PaperPal™ Handwriting Program

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Old Point Elementary students and officers from York County Sheriff’s Department and Rock Hill Police exchanged handwritten letters for six months. Domtar employees host event for them to meet face-to-face for the first time.

dom logoDomtar Corporation announced that employee volunteers from the company’s converting facility in Rock Hill, SC visited Old Pointe Elementary School to host a PaperPal™ event for Fifth Grade students and local York County Sheriff’s Department and Rock Hill Police officers. The PaperPal program brings generations together through handwritten letters. The officers and students exchanged letters for six months and met in person for the first time today. Research shows that handwriting has tremendous neurological benefits for the developing minds of young children, and it is an effective way to communicate on a more emotional level. Domtar makes a wide variety of every day products from sustainable wood fiber, and it is one of the world’s largest producers of uncoated freesheet papers, as well as a complete line of absorbent hygiene solutions. The company’s Rock Hill converting facility employs 50 people in the local community.

“Authentic handwriting is not just practice for our students, its how we can relate to and connect with the real world”

“Authentic handwriting is not just practice for our students, its how we can relate to and connect with the real world,” said Bill Cook, superintendent of Rock Hill Schools. “Our partnership with Domtar has been a great way to connect our students to the larger community. We are grateful for partners like Domtar who demonstrate through action that we are on one team with one mission for one Rock Hill.”

“The PaperPal program was a great way for our officers to meet students on a personal level and let them know that we care and we’re here to protect them,” said Kevin R. Tolson, York county sheriff.

Domtar started the PaperPal program in 2015 with a school and retirement community in Van Nuys, Calif. The idea, chronicled in a short video, was so successful that the groups wanted to continue writing letters even after the initial two-month program officially ended.

“Besides the educational and cognitive benefits of PaperPal, we are excited to see how this program sparks smiles and hugs for both children and adults,” said Michelle Osborne, Domtar Rock Hill’s administrative coordinator.

To understand more about the benefits of handwriting for different generations, consider the research and expert opinions cited below:

  • Experts at Indiana University conducted brain scans on pre-literate children to determine whether printing letters, tracing them or typing is the most effective method in the learning process. The children tried each method, and then received a functional MRI scan in a device designed to look like a spaceship. The results? If children wrote by hand, the experts saw neural activity in three areas of the brain that was far more enhanced. These areas get activated in adults when they read and write.
  • A study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience shows how hand-writing can help adults learn new symbols – anything from music notes to Mandarin. Researchers found that if adults wrote the symbols, there was a stronger, longer-lasting recognition.
  • Good handwriting can play a role in classroom performance. It can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th, said an education professor at Vanderbilt University.
  • Handwriting can be a useful cognitive exercise for baby boomers trying to keep their minds sharp as they grow older, according to a neuroscientist at Duke University.
  • Children in grades two, four and six wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand instead of with a keyboard, according to a study by a University of Washington professor of educational psychology.

About Domtar

Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products. With approximately 10,000 employees serving more than 50 countries around the world, Domtar is driven by a commitment to turn sustainable wood fiber into useful products that people rely on every day. Domtar’s annual sales are approximately $5.5 billion, and its common stock is traded on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Domtar’s principal executive office is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

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