Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) is a mentoring program that matches FFA members with elementary and middle school students.
PALS mentors teach young students about the science and business of agriculture. They also serve as positive role models, helping their mentees learn to set goals, and build positive self-esteem.
Along the way, both the FFA member and the elementary student learn the value of helping others.
PALS Program Objectives
PALS is a mentoring program that matches high school agriculture students with elementary and middle school students. The program helps students to build trust in others and develop positive self-esteem, and engage in ag literacy activities.
Through the PALS program, high school, middle school and elementary students develop special, one-to-one relationships, while exploring their interests in plants, animals and the world around them. As a result, the younger students become more interested in engaged in school and develop stronger social skills.
Agriculture Education strives to provide a total, dynamic educational system that contributes to students’ personal, academic and career development. To help agriculture education in this overall mission the PALS program helps to:
- Expand agriculture programs and agricultural literacy
- Amplify the "whole person" concept of education, focusing on a student’s leadership, personal and interpersonal skills
- Provide leadership and cultivate strong partnerships in schools across all programs and subject areas.
- Improves interpersonal, human relations and leadership skills in elementary/middle school youth and local FFA members
- Develops the human resource potential of FFA members, elementary/middle school youth, teachers and administrators involved in the project
- Increases self-concept and self-esteem as a result of relationships between young adult role models and elementary/middle school youth
- Increases mentor understanding of the principles and fundamentals of the human development process
- Increases consideration of human development needs of youth and the community at large with increased interaction and relationships between teachers across grade levels and school sites
- Develops networks between people of all ages who have similar goals, objectives and skills in human development
- Recognizes and become knowledgeable of projects and resources of local, state and federal agencies and institutions involved in youth development
- Increases awareness of agriculture and environmental science in elementary/middle school youth and the community
How to Start a PALS Program
Building communities, one person at a time
Many agriculture teachers say that PALS is the ideal FFA program, because it can make a big impact even with a small budget. PALS makes the most of the human resources found in every community.
In schools with a PALS program, administrators, counselors and teachers begin to see agricultural education and FFA as an important component of their overall curriculum.
PALS also opens doors to growing a more diverse FFA membership and helps build strong community partnerships.
Each team should include:
- The elementary school administrator
- The secondary school administrator,
- The elementary school guidance counselor
- The secondary school guidance counselor,
- The high school agriculture teacher or FFA advisor
- A person familiar with community resources who will serve as a coordinator.
Your team will be responsible for:
- Providing mentorship training to as many FFA volunteers as the program will allow during the first six weeks of the fall semester.
- Establishing a mentor advisory team from a cross-section of community representatives to assist in identifying funding sources for your PALS program.
Potential funding sources include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Civic organizations
- Police departments
- School personnel
- Social service/human resource agencies
- FFA Alumni
- National Young Farmer Educational Association, etc.
Free Program Evaluation National Peer Program Certification
Your PALS chapter can become a nationally accredited peer helper program through the
National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP).
The certification is an online evaluation resource that measures how well your program aligns with nationally approved programmatic standards for peer helper programs.
There is a cost for certification, but use of the evaluation and its reports is free. Just complete and submit this
Peer Helper Online Evaluation Subscription Agreement to begin the process toward national peer program certification!
PALS is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.