DIEPPE, NB – Dialogue New Brunswick launched its annual My Friend, Mon ami-e Pen Pal program for students in Grades 3 to 9 today at École Anna Malenfant in Dieppe. The program involves the twinning of Anglophone and Francophone students who are at the same grade level but living in different parts of the province. The students exchange letters as well as a video or scrapbook prepared by each class. Dialogue New Brunswick organizes the twinning process and provides all the necessary material for the program, now in its twelfth year.

Students communicate in their first language when they write their letters and are able to practise their second language when they read the correspondence received from their pen pals. More than 55,000 students have taken part in the program since it was established.

"We firmly believe that the My Friend, Mon ami-e program helps foster better understanding and respect between the province's French- and English-speaking communities," explained Carole Fournier, Executive Director of Dialogue New Brunswick.

Michel Carrier, Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, said the program is a resounding success and should be celebrated. "Anglophones and Francophones in our province have a shared history of co-operation and understanding, and the My Friend, Mon ami-e program is helping to ensure that our future together is even brighter."

Ms. Fournier said that 4,063 students in 192 classes are participating in the 2003-2004 edition of the My Friend, Mon ami-e Pen Pal program.

Dialogue New Brunswick is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 that encourages Anglophones and Francophones to get together, talk together and work together.

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For more information, please contact Carole Fournier at (506) 657-2391 or 1-866-224-4040.

A Few Comments about the My Friend, Mon ami-e Pen Pal Program

"What an unforgettable experience for the students in both classes. The students from Bertrand truly realized how important it is to learn English. They said it was hard, but they managed to understand one another."

Huguette Thériault, teacher at École Ola-Léger, Bertrand

"I was surprised to see their expressions and the friendships that sprang up?It was wonderful to see them expressing themselves in their own way and playing together without prejudice."

Denise Landry, parent volunteer, Memramcook

"I think that your Pen Pal program is very educational and fun to do inside of school."

Kyle Scribner, a student at Quispamsis Middle School

"I really liked this project too because I found some new friends."

Katherine Stever, École Place-des-Jeunes, Bathurst