Back To The Schools

PALS returns to local elementary, middle schools


Courtesy of Jared Lippe

Each week, PALS go to the local elementary and middle schools and spend time with the kids. “We get to see our kids every week and hang out with them,” junior Abigail Martinez said. “We play games, do crafts, or just talk with them and build relationships.”

Sofya Bashirova, Reporter

The hallways and classrooms of the elementary and middle schools seem to fill up with joy and laughter as the PALS make their way back. After a year of not being able to go to the schools to mentor kids, the high school PALS are back this year to build relationships with younger kids in the district.

PALS is an organization active throughout LISD, with the main purpose of mentoring young kids in the community and spending meaningful time with them. Students involved in the organization spend time giving back to the community, including going back to our feeder elementary and middle schools and helping out.

“The purpose of PALS is to serve the community around us and cater to those who need help in any way, ”senior Jaclyn Simpson said. “We get lots of opportunities to help out with elementary schools and hang out with them, or help out with any events they’re having.”

As going to the schools every Monday and Tuesday becomes part of the daily lives of the PALS, their routine starts forming.

“A normal day during visits would be getting to the school, checking in at the front office, and then going to pick up your first kid from whichever class they’re in,” Simpson said. “After hanging out for about 30 minutes, you go meet up with your second PAL. We play games or do crafts or just sit and talk together, and it’s always super enjoyable for everyone.”

Beyond the expected struggles, students were surprised by how easy it was to start conversations and get to know their PALees. With just a little bit of charisma and imagination, conversations flowed from the moment the PALS walked in.

“I found it really interesting how easy all the kids opened up to us with just a short amount of time,” junior Abigail Martinez said. “You can tell they already trusted us and it makes it really special.”

This experience has different positive outcomes for both the kids and the PALS themselves, who learn multiple life skills to use in high school and beyond.

“Kids always tend to look up at the older students, and by participating in this activity they have someone to talk to, someone to be friends with and spend time with,” PALS teacher Jared Lippe said. “Simultaneously, PALS gain a lot of life perspective and service-based learning while mentoring kids, as well as many different communication and character skills, with character development all around.”

Students become eligible to join this organization in their junior year. PALS is full of opportunities for students to immerse themselves in serving the community and developing real life skills, according to Martinez.

“This class is amazing because it’s not formatted like the normal ones,” Martinez said. “It comes with more responsibilities, but you learn so many life lessons and valuable things, such as communication skills and how to interact with different people, that will take you farther than high school.”

Helping out in the community and learning life skills in a community of like-minded students while making lifelong memories, PALS benefits everyone involved in it.

“I think everyone needs a PAL and more people should definitely join because there are so many kids at all the different schools that could really benefit from having a PAL,” Simpson said. “You meet so many great people and have the most fun experience serving others.”

Students interested in joining PALS should talk to Mr. Lippe in room 1010.