Craig Darder
The PAL® Peer Assistance and Leadership curriculum recognizes the potential of youth as a resource and catalyst for change in other troubled youth. They provide a critical first line of defense in building resiliency among peers. The PAL peer helping program philosophy identifies an innate capacity for social understanding, personal well-being, and community participation within every person. When participating in positive, productive pursuits with peers, youth can more easily resist negative influences, such as illegal use of addictive substances, excessive school absences and unlawful activities. The goals of PAL Peer Assistance and Leadership are to build peer helping programs throughout Texas by providing training, networking opportunities, and technical assistance to create exemplary PAL® programs; most importantly PAL® replicates a proven model of peer helping.

The PAL Program is:

  • an opportunity for positive role models to develop closeness and trusting personal relationships with other students (often younger)
  • a caring, sharing, and listening experience for both giver and receiver
  • a helping hand of regular school counseling services
  • something which can address academic as well as other concerns
  • a way for students to develop a greater sense of ownership and responsibility in their school community
  • a tool for preparing students for what lies ahead in school, particularly in the transition between grade levels or buildings
  • an alternative way of reaching students and utilizing student resources
  • a program in which the students themselves play an important role
  • an opportunity to improve self image and develop more responsible decision-making among participants
  • a path to help students recognize and solve their own problems
  • a chance to have a positive impact on the overall school climate