PALs allows high school students to mentor their elementary counterparts


Photo By: Kiela Ramos

When times get tough, it’s always good to have a friend to confide it. However, when dealing with serious issues at a young age, it could be harder to find solutions. With lots of empathy, Judson PALs take the time to provide a safe haven for younger students dealing with a wide array of problems.

Lead by Ms. Jennifer Kowalik, PALs, standing for Peer Assistance and Leadership, consists of 26 juniors and seniors. Mondays through Thursdays, students go off campus to different elementary schools to spend time with their selected PALees.

On Fridays, PALs take the time to reflect on their interactions with their kids. They are also responsible for completing a community service project that will either benefit students on campus or people in the greater San Antonio area.

“My favorite part of being a PAL is being able to spend time with little kids and watch them grow,” senior Victoria Vansickle said

According to, the purpose of PALs is “to enable young people to use their potential to make a difference in their lives, schools and communities.” At their schools, PALs have the option of playing games, going out for recess, helping with school work or simply just talking with their PALees. Likewise, they “learn to adapt the power of peer pressure to influence others positively. Ultimately, they make a difference in the lives of others,” according to the website.

“When I first met my PAL, she was very shy and didn’t want to talk to anybody, then I started getting her to open up,” senior Jasmine Casillas said.

It’s evident that PALs have a strong desire to help others. Likewise, even though not all of them plan on having a career working with young children, they enjoy being able to help the kids with any issues they may be having.

“The most rewarding part of being a PAL is when you go to see your PALee is seeing the excitement on their face when they see you,” junior Jazelle Santos said.

PALs have a great time being positive role models for young kids and being able to become more knowledgeable about the lives of different people in the process. Most importantly, regardless of age group or situation, PALs love to extend a helping hand to those who need it most.