A letter from Lincoln on State Capitol stationary arrives in the mail.

Property tax bill? License renewal? Jury summons?

This is one official communication adults are happy to receive — and kids, even more so.

State Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha, who represents District 9, was concerned about how friends with young children were coping while practicing COVID-19 social distancing.

“I wanted to think of a way to help friends who are losing their minds,” Howard said.

“I usually request art from children every year through the schools, and obviously, that might not happen this year. So I started writing to children directly to ask them to make art for my office.”

Her “special request,” which Howard personally addresses to children using their first names, goes something like this:

“I am in desperate need for art for my office! My walls are bare and it is very sad. PLEASE send art as soon as you can, Nebraska-themed preferred.”

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Lily Wasser’s work in progress. She plans to draw different birds native to Nebraska in the tree.

Alice Wasser of Bellevue is one of Howard’s friends. Her children Lily, 13; River, 6; and Pearl, 3; were among the first to receive an official letter.

The project was perfect for Lily, because she loves to make art. River was excited to recognize the Nebraska State Capitol on the card. The 3-year-old, meanwhile, is enjoying doodling something that just depicts “home.”

“I think it’s a wonderful way to show leadership, and to show that leaders are thinking of the people in the state,” Wasser said. “It makes the whole situation a lot bigger. You’re in your bubble, but this project expands it for the kids, who are so happy to do this.”

The response among friends was overwhelmingly positive, so the senator shared the request with the public on her Facebook page.

Omahan Christen Nickerson jumped at the opportunity to engage her children in the project. When the senator’s letter arrived, Amira, 8, and Cassius, 5, could hardly contain their excitement.

“They were jumping up and down,” their mother said. “I said, ‘This is official Nebraska business. The state needs your help.’ They literally dropped everything.”

Letter-writing, Howard said, happens only after she has thoroughly washed her hands according to CDC guidelines. All stamps are self-adhesive.

So far, more than 150 requests have flooded her mailbox.

Art requests may be sent to Howard at showard@leg.ne.gov. Include children’s first and last names and a full mailing address.

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