PALS was initiated in 2000 by Mr. James K. Irving, Chairman of J.D. Irving, Limited,
and the Saint John Education Centre of the Anglophone South School District.
One school and one partner has grown to more than 30 schools and over 150 partners and this positive growth continues.
PALS (PARTNERS ASSISTING LOCAL SCHOOLS) is an initiative developed in Saint John, NB to help
address the needs and implications associated with students living in poverty.
Poverty reduction remains the central focus of the PALS initiative in Saint John. However, schools
both in Saint John and in other jurisdictions have developed PALS partnerships for a variety
of reasons, a testament to its adoptability and adaptability as a model.
Working with the school staff and administration, the partnerships help develop strategies that align
with the School Improvement Plans of the partner schools. On a continual basis the partnerships’
strategies are developed, implemented and evaluated for their effectiveness in complementing
Partnership initiatives vary from school to school providing many innovative opportunities. These
opportunities support literacy and numeracy and offer exciting experiences that enrich children’s
Employees of the various businesses and community groups are the volunteer PALS who, working in
partnership with the school staff, contribute to significant positive changes in the students, as well
as measurable academic improvements.
Some of their volunteer activities include:
• mentoring through the Big Brothers Big Sisters In-School Mentoring Program
• supporting early literacy by volunteering for the Elf program
• coaching after-school sports
• participating as reading or math buddies
The PALS initiative is looking for interested businesses, their employees, and community groups to partner with neighbourhood schools to “make a difference” in the lives of our youth. _________________
• overseeing extracurricular activities
• serving breakfast
• organizing after-school clubs
• encouraging social skills
• providing cultural enrichment
• offering career guidance/job-specific expertise
• engaging high school students in work experiences
• delivering career-focused lectures
• assisting with post-secondary student placements
• and so much more!
Some companies/agencies may not be able to spare employee time during the work week, but assisting a school financially may be an option.
Many schools do not have the means to provide additional enriching educational experiences for their students. Financially, partners may help by:
• Augmenting or creating opportunities for children to access events or activities associated with going to school.
• Assisting in efforts to provide such extras as library enhancements, development of playgrounds, team uniforms, etc.
• Creating opportunities for schools to provide field trip experiences beyond what the school budget accommodates.
PALS partnerships (the schools and their partners) have a positive impact on virtually every facet of school life – academic achievement, enrolment, school spirit, student behaviour and social skills, student motivation, sports activities, cultural awareness, and pride in being part of the school community.
Students see significant positive changes, including:
• Improved literacy rates
• Improved attendance
• Overall rise in academic achievement
• Exposure to possibilities beyond
what they knew pre-partnership
• Increased pride in school, school spirit
• Sense of ownership and involvement
• Increase in feelings of self-esteem
• Sense of belonging in the community
For community and business leaders, a PALS partnership can be one of the most efficient and effective ways to contribute to real community change.
These partnerships are making a significant and direct impact on poverty, and they have engaged the community to be part of that change.
Volunteers return to work feeling like they have made a difference.
Volunteers enjoy sharing in children’s lives and celebrating their successes.
The PALS initiative is proving that a dedicated school staff and parent group, together with community
volunteers and financial support, can make a significant impact on the future of our children.
For more information, and to find out how YOU can make a difference in the future of our young people, please contact: