NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two New York City teenagers are using a small gesture to thank health care workers in a big way, and they’re looking for help in continuing their mission.

You can’t underestimate the power of putting pen to paper.

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While it’s become easy to type an email or send an e-card, two eleventh graders recognize the importance of thanking those on the front lines with handwritten letters.

“It shows a lot of care to take your time to write something for somebody who’s on the front lines against this pandemic and to show your gratitude for that reason,” said Herman Bikoko, from the Bronx.


Along with a friend from Chicago, Herman and friend Henry Barrera, from Queens, have mailed more than 300 thank-you cards to 10 hospitals across the country, including Bellevue and Lincoln Medical Center right here in New York.

It’s an initiative they call “Kind Words USA.”

Last month, the teens created an Instagram page, inviting people to direct message them thank you messages, which they then put to paper and mail.

“We also come up with our own messages such as inspirational quotes or simple things, such as thank you for what you do, we’re all in this, and we wish you the best,” Henry said.

Herman says the response has been overwhelming. Not only are they receiving thank you notes in return, but local hospitals, including Harlem Hospital Center, have even called to request their own.

“When this nurse talked to us, she said morale in her department was low and that they needed letters. It showed us that this is more than just a gesture, it’s a firm action to kind of extend our hand,” Herman said.

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The teens are seeing more messages of kindness and gratitude in their inbox every week, but say that’s not enough. They want to expand their reach by finding people across the country to write and mail cards to their local hospitals, as well.

It may seem like a simple gesture, but these notes prove no “thank you” is too small.

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If you would like to get involved, visit or for more information.