Write a Letter, Make a Connection

Dear Stranger, a letter-exchange project from Oregon Humanities, offers a chance for a connection by inviting Oregonians to write letters with someone they’ve never met. 

“In good times, bad and everything in between, sometimes it’s hardest to share our innermost thoughts with those closest to us,” says Lucy Solares-Steger, a program assistant who runs the Dear Stranger project at Oregon Humanities. 

“Dear Stranger offers a chance to share a fresh perspective with a stranger in the world and receive one in return. It provides an opportunity to reach out and find community, listen to one another and learn from each other.”

The aim of Dear Stranger is to create shared understanding among Oregonians with different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs. The premise is simple: write a letter, get a letter and make a new connection. 

Oregon Humanities has operated Dear Stranger since 2014, with each round of the project asking writers to address a different question or theme. In the most recent round this past winter, 69 people from 28 communities across Oregon exchanged letters.

This spring’s prompt for writers is about care: “What do you care about and why? Who do you care for and who cares for you? Does this feel like a choice or a given? Where do you see care and where do you notice its absence?”

Prompts for writing and instructions for participation are available on the Oregon Humanities website, oregonhumanities.org. Letters are swapped anonymously and each person receives a letter from the person who received the one they wrote. What happens next is up to the writers. 

Letters should be addressed to Oregon Humanities, Attn: Dear Stranger, 610 SW St., Suite 1111, Portland, OR 97205. Oregon Humanities will exchange letters mailed by June 30, 2022.

 Questions can be directed to programs@oregonhumanities.org.

Write a Letter, Make a Connection

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