Frequently Asked Questions


How long will the Memory Project continue?

As long as there are dedicated teachers and students who feel inspired to participate in our programs, we'll keep going!

Who organizes the Memory Project?

We have a small office team that coordinates our activities behind the scenes, but our activities would not be possible without the thousands of teachers and students who offer their time and talent every year. We feel like we're part of a big family of people committed to education, art, global understanding, and kindness, and we are grateful for every person who joins us!

Art Exchange

How is the privacy of the children protected?

We are dedicated to protecting the privacy of all children on both sides of this exchange. We do not share any information regarding the children’s identities or locations with any person who is not a Memory Project staff member. View our full privacy policy here.

Is every single piece of artwork delivered to every child?

The vast majority of artwork in each exchange is successfully delivered to each child meant to receive it. However, given that it takes many months to create all of the artwork, we always find that a very small percentage of children are no longer present when we complete each exchange. For example, if we deliver artwork to children at a refugee camp, we may find that a small number of children may have left the camp. In those cases we give the artwork to new children at the location who did not receive a piece in the original exchange.

Can we communicate with the children?

We do not have the capacity to facilitate any communication between American students and foreign students, as the organizations that partner with us typically do not want their children to engage in unsupervised communication. Though we do highly suggest that all students put photos of themselves on the backs of their artwork, as all participants love to see the youth on the other side of the exchange!

How is the artwork delivered?

We accomplish this exchange with the help of many international partner organizations that work with children in school settings. They send us the drawings that their children create through international courier channels, and we then send them the artwork from our American students through those same courier channels.

Who are the children that participate?

The children on the American side of the exchange are K-12 students living throughout the United States. The children on the foreign side of the exchange are primary and secondary students living in countries that are culturally very different from the United States.

Are novice art students allowed to participate?

We see a huge variety in the artistic ability and experience of students who participate in this exchange, and every student is welcome. There are students on both sides who have never taken an art class, and their drawings might be simple pencil sketches on copy paper. Meanwile, there are other students who have the training and resources to create sophisticated paintings. We would never prevent a child from participating for lack of experience or resources, so we only request that each child tries their best to express something that is meaningful to them.

Writing Exchange

How is the privacy of the children protected?

We are dedicated to protecting the privacy of all children involved in this program. We do not share any information regarding the children’s identities or locations with any person who is not a Memory Project staff member. The only identifying information we share with participants is their first name. View our full privacy policy here.

Will the writing my students receive be in response to their own?

No. The children with whom your students exchange writing will be writing at the same time as your students and, therefore, be formulated independently from the content of your students' writing. Though this is not a penpal relationship, it is a one-to-one exchange, meaning that your student will receive writing from the recipient of their own writing.

Can classrooms/students communicate with the children?

Classrooms will not be able to communicate directly with the children. We do not have the capacity to facilitate any penpal arrangements. For this reason, we do highly suggest that all participants put photos of themselves, as the children LOVE to see who is on the other end of the exchange.

Can my student exchange writing with the same child multiple times?

No. Though your student can participate in the exchange as many times as they'd like, they will not be able to exchange writing with the same child multiple times. Instead, they will be matched with a new child from another place randomly each time. They will, however, receive writing from the same child who received their own writing.

Are there writing prompts?

When you register, you will receive an email with a link to writing and upload instructions. On that page, you will see the prompts we suggest, most pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. These prompts are just a starting point and you do not have to follow them, however, the writing that your students receive in return is likely to be based off of those prompts.

Will my students' exchange partners be from other countries?

We cannot guarantee that your students will be matched with children in different countries. In order to offer this program for free (we run entirely on participation fees from our other programs), we have to take a more hands-off approach than in our other programs where we leave participation up to teachers in the US and our organizations abroad instead of forming formal partnerships. Because of this, we anticipate that the majority of participants will be in the United States, though they will be in different areas than your students. If you are looking to have more of an international experience for your students, we suggest participating in our Global Art Exchange program. In that program, students exchange heartfelt artwork with children in countries culturally different from our own like Nigeria, Pakistan, and Cameroon. We do, however, ask for $12/student in order to participate in this program ( more info).

How often will you facilitate the exchange?

Depending on how many submissions we get on a rolling basis, we will try to execute the exchange about once a month. We will notifiy registered teachers as an upcoming deadline approaches. You can submit student work at any time but we will organize the actual exchange of writing on those deadlines. Your students will then receive writing from their exchange partners soon after. You are in complete control of the timing of your participation.

Does it cost money to participate?

No, it does not cost money to participate in this exchange. As a small nonprofit organization that depends on contributions to operate, we do encourage all participating schools to donate just $3 per student. However, schools worldwide are welcome to participate even if they are not able to donate.

Is there an alternative to including my students' photos?

We believe that the student photos are an incredibly important part of the exchange; however, if you are not able to obtain parental consent to include photos, we do have some alternatives: 1) The students can include a photo of themselves with a mask that protects their identity. It could be a digital mask (using any photo app) or an actual mask they wear around their eyes so that only their smile is showing. 2) They could choose cartoon images to represent themselves like bitmojis/emojis. They could use any photo app to upload a photo of themselves and turn it into a cartoon version, then they could print that cartoon version and put that on the back. 3) The students can make a sketch of themselves (self-portrait).

Is there a format/template we have to follow?

Yes. Once you register online, we will send you an email with a link to writing and upload instructions. On that page, you will see options for downloading our Writing Template in different formats. Please follow the instructions on those templates and have your students write their final works there.

Still have questions? 

The Memory Project
2163 N. Gateway St.
Middleton, WI 53562

(608) 616-0317

A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004.

EIN: 20-1802885

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