Being a PAL


photo courtesy of Amy King

Juniors and Seniors travel to elementary and middle schools as they embark on their journey of mentoring kids that they will continue to build a relationship with throughout the year. Although the Seniors in Pals have gone through the experience before, the encounter can still cause nerves.

Senior Josh Barretto,  second year PAL, said he feels a great amount of responsibility taking on this difficult task.

“I was excited for the new experience and meeting a new kid,”  Barreto said. “It was very enlightening because you get to meet a new person that has very real problems.”

On Tuesdays, PALs travels to elementary schools and Thursday to middle schools. Young children and pre-teens need different things from a PAL, which sometimes may present as a challenge.

“My elementary school pal is very quiet and sort of shy,” Barretto said. “They don’t like to talk that much, but the middle school [Palees] sort of understand why they are there so they are more willing to open up.”

Each year PALs get to know two new kids they’ve never met before. Senior and second year PAL, Jessica Brown, knows this commitment well.

“It was very exciting because you never know what type of kid you’re going to get,” Brown said. “I just am so anxious to see why they paired me with this kid.”

The PALs program, beneficial to not only elementary and middle school kids, but to the high school students as well. It takes a special kind of person to put aside their own problems in order to focus all their attention on another.

“I could be having a bad day but on travel days I have to put all that to the side and focus on my kid,” Brown said. “Being a PAL means being selfless, putting others before yourself.”