PALs in the community

PAL students make fall wreaths for the Village Project clients.

I am a junior at Bay High School and I am working on earning my Girl Scout Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, and the goal of the award is to create a service project that will have a lasting impact on her community.

For my project, I wanted to pick an issue that is close to my heart. Since my freshman year, I have been involved in PAL, or “Pupil Assisted Learning.” The PAL program buddies typical teens with a peer that has a disability. Since I have joined, PAL has been my favorite club. I love spending time with these students and getting to know them.

PAL is a great program that offers its members a lot of social interaction. However, I wanted to give these students a chance to give back to their community. So, I am attempting to involve the special education students at my high school with the Village Project.

First, let me tell you about the Village Project. Previously known as the Village Food Project, their mission is “to come together as a community of all ages to provide nourishing meals and extend care and service to our neighbors experiencing cancer.” Typical high school students can volunteer at the Village Project by cooking meals for the Village Project clients after school. Unfortunately, teens with disabilities are not able to volunteer in the kitchen. I want these teens to be able to have fun, build relationships, and give back to their community.

This summer, the PAL students helped water the Village Project’s plots in Bay’s community garden and learned about the different plants and herbs that we grow and use while cooking the meals.

We also represented the Village Project at various community events such as the Green Team's Spring Green Garden Show event and the Bay Cares Volunteer Fair.

In addition, I have set up three days for the PAL students to get together and make seasonal gifts and home decorations for the Village Project clients. At the first event, we made autumn wreathes. We also spent time eating lunch and just hanging out together.

By the end of my project, I hope to create a lasting program between the PAL students and the Village Project.

Katie Koomar

I am a junior at Bay High.

Read More on Community Service
Volume 5, Issue 22, Posted 10:16 AM, 10.29.2013