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Thousands of Letters Written to Charlottesville Students After August Rally

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letters to Charlottesville students from "Dear Young Person" campaign letters to Charlottesville students from "Dear Young Person" campaign
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A worldwide letter writing campaign, that aims to ensure children can cope with the violence and hatred witnessed in Charlottesville last August at the "Unite the Right" rally, is seeing a big success.

It has even sparked a new initiative in one Charlottesville elementary school.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Virginia Blue Ridge started the “Dear Young Person” campaign two days after August's rally to counter messages of violence and bigotry.

Almost six months later, more than 15,000 have piled in, from across the globe.

"We've gotten them from as far away as Hawaii and Brazil and Canada. They've come from Tennessee, 230 universities across the country have signed on. We got a post card from Chelsea Clinton,” BBBS director Athena Gould said.

Volunteers sort the letters -- some even contain donations. Then, they distribute them to Charlottesville schools.

"This is verification that the rest of the world noticed and that we're not alone and that people care,” David Wilkerson of Charlottesville High School said.

Some of the letters hang in the hallways of CHS to remind students they are not alone.

"I say to these letters that its actually another hope that there are people that understand what we're going through and they're here for us,” CHS student Cierra Smith said.

Others sit on tables and desks at city elementary schools and are used to combat bullying. 

"It’s had an important impact on our culture of just thinking about being connected to one another and identifying what it means to be empathic and compassionate,” Jackson Via Principal Justin Malone said.

At Jackson Via Elementary, it has inspired a student letter-writing campaign of their own.

"We took the model that we received from other students around the country and provided post cards to all of our students who could then write words of kindness and affirmation and strength and courage to share with other students in our school system,” Malone said.

Students at Jackson Via will finish their letters in the next week or so, and then distribute them to other Charlottesville schools shortly after.

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