Such a simplistic word that seems to weigh so much. Kindness illustrates something primal, an unheeding force of purity and innocence made clear through actions and gentle wording. Yet, this moral often proves simplistically seen, it can be a quite arduous thing when rampant online bullying, large culture shifts, and bad home lives aggregates the modern culture. Though, as a shining light of kindness, an interesting helix of feeling and morality can be found in such a program as PAL.
The organization known as PAL, or Peer Assistance & Leadership, constitutes itself as a program to which a high school person can provide and help elementary school kids. This program illustrates itself in kind acts and social bonding, a somewhat combination of both that creates a healthy environment where relationships and mental health blossom. Sponsored by Allyson Mayer, the PAL program emphasizes leadership and finding common ground with one another.
“We get to help kids at the elementary school kids going through a rough time,” Jane Unger, junior, said. “I love to help people and I love kids, that’s why i joined.”
As a member of this club, Jane Unger illustrates an ideal person for this program, kind, loving, and in all meaning, extremely helpful. PAL creates an environment where these elementary students participate in productive pursuits with people like Jane using decision making, and resiliency building.
“My favorite part of bring in PAL is bringing joy to the kids lives,” Unger said. “A lot of them don’t have that kind of stuff. Just seeing them happy all the time and laughing and playing, it’s really fulfilling.”
The ability to relate and help these children on their own level proves amazing in leadership building skills. One main focus of PAL conveys itself as a way to better oneself from issues that surround them. As said by the PAL website, the program utilizes a teaching style that helps its members create a central strategy that addresses outside information.
“I think that I am good at getting through to the kids,” Unger said. “Because a lot of them, when I first met them, were very shy and they didn’t want to talk to me, but after the first couple of minutes they really opened up and they were laughing, talking my ear off. I was really happy that they finally trusted me to tell me about their day.”
Unger spoke about this with a smile on her face, almost as if she herself was caught in the memory of it all. The PAL program provides a safe space and a specialized time for people years apart in age to find a shared camaraderie found in few other places.
“I would like to do something in Sociology or Psychology, something along social working,” Unger said. “Something very similar to PAL, maybe something in the foster care system like a Social Worker. I want to help people, helping people fuels me and that kind of career path helps people in the best of ways.”
PAL provides a basis for working experience, it provides essential knowledge and help that could help those to who are a part of it. This program forwards not just the people apart of it but the elementary school students that compose the program.
“I get to see them[PAL’s] on thursdays and we wait for their class to come,” Unger said. “Whenever they turn the corner and they are in the line and they poke their little head out and they see me, they run towards me. You can tell that they look forward to seeing me, just seeing them again after not seeing them for a week is really fulfilling because as soon as they see you, you can tell that they really appreciate you and they love the time that they spend with you. I’m actually affecting them, I’m actually doing something good with them, and it’s nice.”
PAL proves to be an amazing program to which furthers not just the community but also the youth that lives in it. The emotions that lit up Unger’s face when she spoke of her experiences in the club shows nothing if not true testament to the nature of the program.
“Put others before you and to not let your feelings affect them. If you have had a bad day and you take it out on the people around you,” Unger said. “PAL has taught me to not do that as much and to focus on putting more positive emotions towards people who need them instead of putting what I am feeling towards them. Especially if I have had a bad day, they don’t need to feel bad for me.”
Written by Ethan Everman