PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools)
PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) is an initiative developed in Saint John, NB to help address the needs and implications associated with students living in poverty. In the 15th year of operation, PALS has grown from one school and one partner to over 30 schools and more than 130 partners.
The PALS initiative is looking for interested businesses and their employees, community groups and service groups to partner with neighborhood schools to “make a difference” in the lives of our youth.
Each partnership is unique as a result of the school with which you partner, the nature of your organization and the individual needs of the school. There is no “cookie cutter” mold for the shape of a partnership. Within the PALS community, smaller organizations and groups are valued for their contribution as well as larger organizations. Some schools may have only one partner while others may have multiple partners. As a partner you may wish to align yourself with only one school but you have the option of aligning yourself with multiple schools and becoming a “global partner”.
Partners can enrich the lives of students in a number of ways, including providing time during the work week for employees to volunteer (mentoring, tutoring, coaching, breakfast programs, etc.), sharing expertise, and/or by assisting a school financially. These opportunities expose students to experiences that support literacy and numeracy, increase self-esteem and self-confidence, and help close the achievement gap.
Poverty reduction remains the central focus of the PALS initiative in Saint John, however schools both in Saint John and elsewhere have developed PALS partnerships for a variety of reasons, a testament to its adoptability and adaptability. This concept of partnering organizations with schools has been modeled in many jurisdictions within Canada stretching from coast to coast.
Partnerships (the school working with their partners) have a positive impact on virtually every facet of school life. A PALS partnership is a way to contribute to real community change - a dedicated school staff and parent group, together with community volunteers and financial support, can make a significant impact on the future of our children.
We thank the contributions and efforts of all our current partners – you are helping to change the lives of the children of our community and the future of Greater Saint John! The Anglophone South School District is a most valuable partner – without their commitment and cooperation, none of our efforts would be possible! And a special mention to the educators and staff of each of our schools – they are on the front line every day and provide our children with the most important tool for their future - a great education!
For those of you who are not yet involved, we hope we have sparked your interest in finding out a bit more about becoming a PALS partner! For more information please contact:
Deborah Fisher, Susan Tipper
PALS Coordinator, PALS High School Coordinator