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Woman starts senior citizen pen pal program

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Hilary Tichota, like so many, didn’t know how to process the pandemic at first.

“What am I going to do?” she asked herself.

She immediately jumped into action to help her community in Lee’s Summit.

“I decided face masks would work,” Tichota said, and got to sewing. Tichota said she’s at almost 4,500 homemade masks.

Tichota is the community relations coordinator at her family’s elder law firm, Paths Elder Law. She’s been donating those masks to senior citizens in Lee’s Summit, and she also started a pen pal program with assisted living facilities closed to visitors.

“I just took my children and started having them color pictures and write cards,” she explained.

Tichota has more than 200 senior pen pals and has partnered with area schools and youth programs.

“Something little can have a big impact on somebody least expecting it. I get the most joy out of spreading the joy,” she said.

Tichota makes the deliveries herself, including a stop SummitView Terrace Senior Living, where residents like Anna look forward to letters from Hilary’s kids.

“I enjoy it tremendously, it’s such a great family. It reminds me of my family because I have two daughters,” Anna said from behind the window of the facility.

Tichota is strengthening the bonds that hold her community, and her family, together.

“I just…I care about my family and I work for my parents and I get to spread my success with my whole family. It’s just really changed my outlook on what I’m doing,” she said. “My kids get to see that small talents can go far.”

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