Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support Program (PALS)
The PALS (Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support) program, overseen by professionals at UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, provides peer support and therapeutic intervention to troubled students and enhances leadership skills for teen leaders.
This is achieved through peer counseling classes, therapeutic groups led by professionals and peers and programs that provide an altruistic, tolerant, nonviolent atmosphere in the school where diversity is welcome.
The overall goal of PALS is to emphasize tolerance, non-violence, altruism, positive self-image and leadership.
PALS aims to improve the school environment’s acceptance of diversity and provide an atmosphere of non-violence and inclusion. Teen leaders improve their leadership skills and compassion for others. Also, they gain enhancement of character attributes such as empathy and compassion. Troubled teens gain an enhanced sense of self-esteem and a feeling of belonging.
Focus groups deal with topics such as:
- Social skills
- Personal hygiene/physical image
- Appropriate outlets for anger
- Self-esteem building
- Leadership skills
- Life goals
- Building personal happiness
- Violence/suicide prevention
Teen Leaders participate in role playing exercises dealing with a variety of topics and issues:
- Ways to peacefully intercede when another teen is ridiculed
- Extending a helping hand to other teens who appear lonely or depressed
- When to seek professional assistance in dealing with an emotionally disturbed peer