Open the Door to the United States Post Office

Grade Level: 
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords: 
Community
Hunger
Intergenerational
Open the door to your local U.S. Post Office and find out how letter carriers make your community a better place. This guide introduces you to the work of the U.S.P.S. as a first step before you contact your own local post office. We think you'll be inspired to find a way to support their work with your own creative service and learning to make a real impact.

The "Open Doors to Your Community" project is a virtual door that guides young people to the actual door of local resources so they can learn about their community, take action, and build connections and understanding of their roles in community. 

What Is the Purpose of a Post Office?

In every community the United States Post office delivers packages, letters, magazines and more. The U.S.P.S. has been in existence since an act of Congress started it in 1775. It is the largest non-military government employer.  In addition to delivering mail, the Postal Service honors famous people, raises money for issues like breast cancer and environmental concerns, and serve as community connectors. They report anything unusual they see on their routes and have been called heroes because they contacted emergency services when they noticed someone is hurt.


Meet the Letter Carrier

In this brief video, we meet Joe Matthews, who has been working for the U.S. Post Office for 37 years. He shares how letter carriers connect and support your community with their daily service and the extras they provide to make the community safer and stronger.


Contact Your Local United States Post Office

Call to set up a phone or in-person interview. Tell them you'd like to learn more about the work of the U.S.P.S. so you can get involved or volunteer to help their mission. Ask for a tour and 30 minutes or an hour of their time. The Interview Script linked here and below can help you make the call.

Interview Questions

These questions can help you learn about your community and ways you can get involved.

  1. What is the main purpose of the U.S.P.S.? What are some of the community services they do?
  2. What are some challenges in the community that the Post Office seeks to address?
  3. What are some programs that address those issues?
  4. What can a young person do to support the Post Office and related issues in the community?

Take Action in Your Community

Reflect on the service work of the United States Post Office in your community. What can you help them do? Your voice and time matter. The resources below can help you plan a project. 

The best service-learning projects guide us to gain and use knowledge, are led by youth voice and passion, address a need, and develop connections with local resources over time.

Learning to Give Issue Area Toolkits include background on the issue, community connections, lessons and activities, project ideas, and planning guides. Check out the Veterans and People Who Serve toolkit.

 

Learning to Give Simple Safe Service guides provide directions for generous actions that encourage youth voice and promote the common good. Check out the Gratitude for Essential Workers service project here. You can support their service work by promoting their food collection drive or raising awareness of the good work they do. You might even get to know your letter carrier and bring them a cold soda on a hot day. 

 

Learning to Give Literature guides combine selected literature with thought-provoking discussions and activities that teach about giving and civic engagement. Read aloud a picture book to a younger child or a retirement home buddy. The book Daniel's Good Day is about a child who meets all the people who serve the community. 


More about the Post Office and Community

Fun Facts:

  • For 100 years, beginning in 1792, the Post Office Act made stealing from a mail carrier a serious crime, punishable by whipping, prison, or death. The letter carriers often carried money and important documents.
  • The person sending a letter pays for the postage. At one time, they were paid for by the recipient. 
  • In 2020, the Postal Service recognized 186 heroic employees.

Other Services Post Offices Provide:

  • The Postal Service workforce is one of the most diverse organizations in the nation. Women make up 46 percent. Minorities represent 49 percent of employees. They employ more than 35,000 employees with disabilities.
  • The Breast Cancer Research stamp has raised more than $92 million. 
  • Postage stamps feature famous people who have made a contribution to civil society. It is an honor to be featured on a stamp.