Salinas Californian Article on Cards4Kids classroom exchange 2013

postcards sandi mccafferty

Schoolkids share glimpses of Salinas with peers in Texas

May 3, 2013 3:06 AM   |

Salinas Californian

 Written by  Roberto M. Robledo

To get involved: To donate postcards or participate in the student postcard exchange, contact Inez Don Carlos at

No tweets. No texts. No Facebook. No YouTube.

Just old-school messages in pen or pencil, on postcards.

In the digital age, it’s very possible many kids have never sent a postcard to anyone. After all, postcards are so 30 years ago.

But, last year, postcard collector Inez Don Carlos had an epiphany and decided to contribute to the literacy rate.

The Salinas resident and assistant manager of the California Welcome Center at 1213 N. Davis Road, distributed more than 100 postcards to classrooms in Salinas, Watsonville, Oregon and Texas “to help educate the children about the greater world around them.”

She included factoids about place names, history, geography and science.  Now she hopes to launch a more organized exchange of postcards between classrooms near and far. She wants school kids to share their views about their city and learn about someone else’s.

Dear Post Card pen pal,

… In Salinas the crops are amazing! They are good for salads, salsa and sandwiches. All of these contain tomatoes. They grow in Salinas.

Sincerely, Veronica.

Don Carlos has enlisted six local classrooms in Salinas and Watsonville to write postcards to their peers in Austin, Texas. Fourth-graders at New Republic School in the Santa Rita Union, Natividad School in Salinas City and Steinbeck School in Alisal Union school districts are participating.

Thanks to the Salinas Woman’s Club, which paid for the stamps, and Don Carlos’ postcard donations, the exchange is free.

Sandi McCafferty’s fourth-grade class at New Republic is taking part. McCafferty took photos of various still life and marine life and had her pupils make their own postcards to share.

“Reaching out to other classes through National Postcard Week (May 5-11) is a way to show off Salinas, connect our students with those from another area, find common ground and share their lives,” Don Carlos said.


We live in Salinas. Have you ever been to a Rodeo? I have. They’re fun. I also like it because you get to see cool animals like bulls, cows and horses. If you’ve ever been to a Rodeo I know you will like it.

Your friend,


Don Carlos said the effort is not a pen-pal project but more of an exchange of “This is where I live” from a child’s perspective. “Most of us are geographically challenged,” she said.

And getting fourth-graders away from texting and into writing in complete sentences can’t hurt.

By next week Don Carlos will have collected 250 postcards, bundled them and mailed them in bulk to Austin, Texas. There, pupils at Anderson Mill Elementary School will get them and see a snapshot of Salinas.

The exchange is sort of a pilot project. Don Carlos said she hopes more local schools find out about it and join in. She envisions a monthly exchange of postcards between schools. Her project, Sandy Martin’s Cards4Kids, is named in memory of a longtime Salinas elementary school teacher.  Don Carlos said she hopes that one day her project lives up to its mission to facilitate “the exchange of information, education, values and customs between children and classrooms throughout the world.”

Dear Postcard pal,

This is a picture of an oak tree and some lupines on a highway called 68 in Salinas. The hills over Salinas have lots of mountain lions, lizards and snakes. Salinas has lots of other things like farms and the Pacific Ocean.



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