aJacob Cramer’s Story of Taking the Art of Letter Writing to New Heights

Dear WKND readers, 

How have you been? What have you been up to? Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Yale alum and former WKND writer Jacob Cramer ’22. He is the founder of the nonprofit Love For Our Elders and the author of a recently published book, Grandma’s Letter Exchange. So, in the spirit of letter writing, I thought I’d write a mini letter to you all. During my conversation with Jacob, we talked about his time at Yale, his current job, his organization, the book he wrote, and the beautiful art of letter writing. He emphasized the importance and power of writing a letter, so I hope that after reading this profile, you are inspired to pick up a pen and piece of paper (or open your laptop) and write a letter of your own. Have a great rest of your WKND!

With love, 


I was waiting in my empty, drab Zoom room for just a few minutes before Jacob entered. When his image popped up on the screen, he was smiling. And he continued smiling for the entirety of our conversation. His presence immediately filled the Zoom with  sunniness.

He was taking the call all the way from Spain, where he currently lives. After graduating from Yale in 2022, Jacob went to Spain to teach English on a Fulbright Scholarship. “I loved Spain so much that I decided to stay another year,” he said with a quickness and playful tone. He currently teaches at a preschool, and jokingly warned me, “I went from, like, I don’t know, only caring about myself and my intellectual curiosity to wiping butts every day and singing ‘If You’re Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands.’”

Before teaching in Spain, Jacob was a student and writer for the WKND desk at the News. He began writing his junior year, his first story being about creating a micronation here in New Haven: “It was me starting a micronation with my friend… It was really just me, though, I kind of just attached her name to it. And we decided that our micronation would be located on the fourth floor of the Yale New Haven Health parking lot, completely surrounded by New Haven on all sides, and it was a lot of fun,” he explained. He truly enjoyed his time writing for the YDN, using it as an opportunity to meet fascinating people, such as the CEO of Sillybandz, and writing about fun topics. 

After hearing about his current work as a teacher and his time writing for the YDN, I could tell that Jacob is someone who loves connecting with and helping others. However, these passions of his began long before his time at Yale and his teaching job.

When he was around 12 and 13 years old, Jacob began volunteering at senior living communities to honor his grandfather after his passing. He was often given the title “bingo boy” because he called out numbers at the various living communities’ bingo events. Jacob enthusiastically shared, “I would shout ‘I 22, I two-two!’ and everybody would laugh. Then I’d say ‘O 69, O six-nine’ and they’d all start laughing, too, and I had no idea why… I was twelve, thirteen, like I had no idea.” 

While Jacob most definitely enjoyed his time as “bingo boy,” finding amusement in calling out letter-number combinations and bringing joy to those in the living communities, Jacob decided to take on a new title that would transform the trajectory of his life. 

Jacob quickly became “letter boy”. Jacob explained to me: “No one deserves to feel alone. We have all felt some form of loneliness, but chronic loneliness is sad. It just made sense that I should do something about it, so I started writing letters because I like writing.” Even though he is from Cleveland, Ohio, he sent his first letters to Lemon Grove Senior Center in California because he wanted his letters to have a national impact. 

In 2013, Jacob decided to take his letter-writing passion to the next level by founding Love For Our Elders, a nonprofit organization with over 50,000 volunteers in 70 countries, that has mailed hundreds of thousands of letters to senior living communities. The organization wasn’t always this large, though. Jacob described, “When I started writing letters, it was just me. Now we have this beautiful community of tens of thousands of volunteers who regularly write letters, and that’s an amazing thing.” Love For Our Elders has continued to grow in various ways, including 26 high school and college letter-writing chapters across the country. They even have a national holiday — Letter to an Elder Day — that is recognized by USPS and Hallmark. 

And his organization continues growing, expanding its impact and outreach. On March 19, Jacob published a children’s book, Grandma’s Letter Exchange. “I’ve always known that with our work at Love for Our Elders, we haven’t done enough to invite little ones to write letters” Jacob shared. Most of the volunteers involved in his organization are high school students and older, so Jacob wanted to use his book to inspire the younger generation to write letters. The book tells the story of a child named Jake, who is disinterested in his grandma’s hobby of writing letters. However, once he learns who she is writing to, Jake is inspired to start writing letters of his own. 

Naturally, Jacob himself loves letters, and showed me a collection that he has displayed on a kitchen cabinet above his stove. “I think that they’d fall into the [stove] – well actually because they did fall… one time when I was cooking in a boiling hot pot, so not super great.” 

The letters written by the Love For Our Elders community have had a tremendous impact on not only the recipients but also the community around them. “Letter writing, in terms of just like an expressive art form, is so beautiful. It’s a simple gesture, an accessible gesture, and a powerful gesture that I’ve witnessed transform lives,” Jacob explained. “It fosters self expression, cultivates gratitude, and spreads joy, and those are things I think the world really needs today.”