Wednesday, 09 December 2015

Students Find Support at PAL

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In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey got so caught up in work and responsibilities that he didn’t realize what was truly important, his friends and family.

It’s easy to become consumed with responsibilities and overwhelmed by the pressure to perform. Adults aren’t alone in that pressure. Teens are increasingly pushed to have better grades, more extracurricular activities, and other resume builders in order to excel in college and job searches.

PAL Equips Teens

Ginger Campbell is a youth specialist with the peer assistance and leadership (PAL) program through Catholic Charities North Star Youth Partnership. She equips students to handle the everyday pressures teens face, learn problem solving and leadership skills. A big part of that is through service to others.

“As the instructor for PAL, sometimes you become so consumed by a checklist that you forget that the magic of PAL isn’t always about the book of lessons, but the heart to heart interactions,” said Campbell.

PAL meets once a week after school. “My time is very precious and very short with these kids to deliver this evidence based training. When you really think about the big picture, that’s not a whole lot of time,” said Campbell. “You get laser-focused on your delivery and squeezing in as much of a lesson as you can in hopes they can take away the moral or teaching.”

Students Under Pressure

Students in PAL are active in their community, their school and at home but strive for a healthy balance. Most high schoolers lead busy lives filled with service hours, clubs, and more commitments to squeeze in their already full schedules. Although these activities are wholesome the pressure to perform can be too much for some students.

Supporting Each Other

PAL provides a unique opportunity to build a support system within the club. Campbell and other PAL leaders encourage students to make wise choices and build healthy relationships.

“Recently a local eighth grade girl took her own life. Some of the girls in PAL were good friends with this girl,” said Campbell. The intimacy of a small group allowed Campbell to find out how the students were feeling and see if they needed help. “I asked them if they all had someone to go to, a friend or parent they could go to for support.” Everyone said yes except one very shy girl. She shared that she has no friends or anyone to talk to for support. Without hesitation, the other girls stepped up and asked to exchange numbers with her. “I could see from the look on her face how much it meant to feel that someone cared.”

You can be a part of the amazing work of PAL and North Star Youth Partnership with your one time or monthly gift.

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Holly Yzquierdo

Holly Yzquierdo is an experienced Marketing and Communications Manager and has served at Catholic Charities since 2014. She is passionate about helping nonprofits share the impact of their work in a digital world. Holly has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cameron University. Outside of work, Holly enjoys spending time with her family.

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