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PALS Alumni Reflection: Positivity

“Hey, man, how are you doing?”

“Good.” my PALee said with a smile.

“What do you want to do today?”

“Mmm, let’s go outside and play games.”

"That was the usual response I got from my PALee at Reilly Elementary. His face was always bright during our time together, and I could tell he cherished every minute we got to hang out. From his classroom, we walked to the baseball field and played a competitive and fun game of kickball with the other PALS duos. He kicked a line drive to third base and ran safely to first. When the next batter kicked, he dodged me as I tried to tag him out and triumphantly celebrated his safe arrival to second. After fifteen minutes of more of the same, we walked back to his classroom, talked about his hobbies and how school was going, and then said bye to each other for the day.

Sure, kids light up when they get to do fun things during the school day, but even more so when they get to do it with high school students. Those smiles on his face told me not only did he have fun, he also got an injection, so to speak, of positivity from me and twelve or so older kids he looked up to.

Being a teacher and coach, I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that it’s not necessarily always the big things that affect adolescents. It’s the consistent, everyday little things that make a big impression on them. And that’s what PALS does. It gives opportunities for children to see an example of young adulthood that’s full of positivity and love for other people. It gives an opportunity for children to say, “Hey, I want to be like that when I grow up.” For many kids, especially those who don’t have the best home life, experiencing that positivity makes a huge difference."

- Wesley Ross Harris, McCallum H.S. PALS Alumnus, Class of 2010

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