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Amazing Kids! of the Month

Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!

Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things.  We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements. 

Amazing Kids! of the Month for March, 1999: 
PAL® Peer Leaders from Orange County, California!
This month we highlight the amazing work of the student 
Peer Leaders in the PAL Program in Orange County, California. 

PAL® - "Bringing Out the Best in Students"...

     "Peers helping peers to withstand the pressures of a 'hurry-and-grow-up' world are basic to PAL®, one of our most successful alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention programs.  Working with and learning from educators and community members, youth leaders share themselves to help give them a boost when they need it most.  We're very proud of them." 
    John F. Dean, Ed.D.
    Orange County Superintendent of Schools
    --Quote from the PAL brochure
Amazing Kids! is pleased to honor the amazing work of students in the PAL® program in the Orange County, California schools.   PAL stands for "Peer Assistance Leadership."  Established in 1980 by the Orange County of Education,  the program is based on students ( PAL peer leaders, or "Pals.") helping their peers (students who are in a similar grade level) make safe and healthy life decisions. 

PAL is a joint project of the Orange County Department of Education and Orange County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services.  The current PAL coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education is Vicki Walker.  Vicki is a dedicated, hard-working and amazing coordinator for the program! 

Students in Orange County who are in grades third through twelfth can participate in PAL. Student peers ("Pals") are involved in many different amazing activities during the year, including:

  • Peer helping, one-on-one
  • Peer mediation (helping peers solve conflicts with one another)
  • New student orientation
  • Cross-age teaching
  • Peer and cross-age tutoring
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention advocacy (teaching the harmful effects of drugs and how to avoid them)
There currently are hundreds of amazing kids and teens who are PAL leaders in the elementary, intermediate and high schools in Orange County, California, and there are similar programs in other schools and districts across the United States.  (Do you have a similar program in your school?  Drop us a line here at Amazing Kids! and let us know about it!)

Below are just some of the amazing stories about the Pals in a few of the schools in Orange County.  We wish we could tell the stories about all of the amazing Pals, but there are just too many to tell in this limited space!  Amazing Kids!  wishes to acknowledge all the great work by the Pals.  Keep up the great work!  You have a lot to be proud of!

The amazing PAL students at John Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim, California!
The amazing PAL students at Thomas Jefferson II Elementary School in Anaheim!
The amazing PAL students at Imperial Middle School in La Habra, California!
The amazing PAL high school students at Canyon High in Anaheim!
Read about the 1998 Outstanding PAL program award recipients
Read about the PAL program (from the PAL website)
Read about the PAL program on the Orange County Department of Education's website 
Read a copy of the PAL newsletter(Adobe Acrobat pdf format)
Read a copy of a survey of parents whose children have been involved in PAL (Adobe Acrobat pdf format)
To see a current list of teachers who are PAL advisors in the Orange County Schools:
For more information about the PAL program and other education programs in Orange County, California schools, visit the Orange County Department of Education's website at:

About the PAL® Program
(reprinted from the PAL website with permission

What is PAL®?
PAL Philosophy
Conflict Resolution Program
PAL® Camp
Contact Information

What is PAL®?

      "PAL® (Peer Assistance Leadership) is a peer-to-peer outreach program
      for elementary, intermediate, and high school students. The proven results 
      are improved school attendance, reduced drug and alcohol abuse, a positive
      school climate, increased academic success, responsible behavior, and 
      involvement in community service. The PAL Program teaches life skills
      and builds resiliency in students. PAL is the best friend your school ever had. 

       PAL's comprehensive network of prevention programs was established in 
      1980 to address the underlying causes for alcohol and other drug use by
      youth. Its unique features include a wide network of schools, PAL Advisors,
      parents, corporate, and business organizations linked with a common goal of
      providing prevention and intervention services to students. The keys to the 
      success of PAL are found in the extensive involvement of faculty and parent
      volunteers, and the cultivation of local ownership to ensure program 
      continuation. The combination of these special populations empower caring 
      students to assist their peers.

PAL Philosophy

                  In order to provide a meaningful prevention and intervention program for 
                  high-risk and other youth, a peer-to-peer program is an essential ingredient. 
                  Virtually all prevention research overwhelmingly supports this position. 

                  It is important to begin to view youth not as a problem that needs 
                  to be fixed, but as a resource that can contribute to their peers, schools, 
                  families, and communities (Bernard, 1990). Peer-to-peer programs at the 
                  elementary, middle, and high school levels can play a major role in reducing 
                  the alienation and disconnectedness many youth feel from their schools, 
                  families, and society. These programs need to begin in early elementary 
                  grades to enable children to experience serving as resources to one another 
                  (SWRL, 1992). 

                  Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL®) is quickly becoming synonymous with 
                  the concept of youth services, and infusion into the curriculum is 
                  encouraged. PAL provides students of all ages ongoing opportunities to 
                  create supportive environments that empower their peers to make healthy, 
                  positive decisions and to achieve their human potential. 

                  The primary intent of the PAL program is to help create, enhance, and 
                  support all peer-to-peer and peer leadership programs in schools. This 
                  includes technical assistance, trainings, PAL camps, a newsletter, and 
                  community, business, and corporate support for K-12 students and their 
                  faculty and parent advisors. 


               Training and technical assistance is available throughout 
                  the year for advisors. A new training manual has been compiled and 
                  includes curriculum, ideas for starting a program, student training activities, 
                  forms, handouts, and evaluation and resource materials. 

                  After school workshops are available to help students learn 
                  strategies in order to implement their program. Topics include drug 
                  and suicide prevention, dramatic arts interpretations, and positive, social, 
                  age-appropriate activities. 

Conflict Resolution Program

                Advisors are trained to teach students mediation techniques in 
                  order to help peers solve their problems. Conflict managers are trained 
                  student conflict resolvers who help disputing students identify and express 
                  their concerns and find their own resolutions. 

PAL® Camp

                Several times a year advisors and students from elementary, junior 
                  high/middle,and high schools spend 3-4 days in the San Bernardino 
                  Mountains learning program implementation strategies. Advisors and camp 
                  staff provide small group and recreational activities. The expected outcome 
                  is a new or expanded PAL program on each participating school campus 
                  and increased awareness of prevention and intervention programs. 

Contact Information

                 Business/corporate support has played a major role in 
                  shaping PAL programs. PAL has been developed by the Orange County 
                  Department of Education, in partnerships with the Orange County Health 
                  Care Agency, Drug Abuse Services, and the Center for Drug Free 
                  Communities. PAL has also enjoyed support from the Orange County 
                  Chamber of Commerce, and business involvement is crucial to the 
                  continued success of PAL. "

                  For personal support, a 400-page manual and video are 
                  available and can be ordered for $149.00 (plus tax and shipping) from: 

                  Orange County Department of Education 
                  PAL® Office 
                  200 Kalmus Drive, Box 9050 
                  Costa Mesa, CA 92628-9050 

            For further information, please contact: 

            Vicki Walker, Coordinator 
                PAL® Program 
                Orange County Department of Education 

            Alec Esparza, Project Specialist 
                PAL® Program 
                Orange County Department of Education 

            Debbie Miranda, Education Specialist 
                PAL® Program 
                Orange County Department of Education 

            Sally Warrick, Education Specialist 
                PAL® Program 
                Orange County Department of Education 

            Mailing Address:
                Orange County Department of Education 
                PAL® Office 
                200 Kalmus Drive, Box 9050 
                Costa Mesa, CA 92628-9050 

More Amazing PAL Information

The 1998 recipients for outstanding PAL programs (as recognized by the Orange County Department of Education)

Outstanding New Program:  Glenview Elementary, Placential-Yorba Linda USD;
Rubin White, Principal; Cathy La Bare, P.A.L. Advisor

Outstanding Individual PAL: Helen Taylor-Bleiker, Advisor; Helen Estock Elementary, Tustin USD; Peter Schaefer, Principal

Elementary Schools:

  • John Marshall Elementary, Anaheim CSD; Peggy Immerman, Principal; Advisors:  Natalie Aviles, Denise Cross, Stephanie Juman, Harriet Kelly, Robin Leclercq, Natalie Aviles.
  • Palmyra Elementary, Orange USD; Sue Olsen-Dahlquist, Principal; Lisa Burgess, Advisor
Middle Schools:
  • La Pas Middle School, Saddleback Valley USD; Juanita Lampi, Principal; Kelly Motske, Advisor
  • Washington Middle School, La Habra CSD; Gary Mantey, Principal; Judy Thomas, Advisor
High Schools:
  • El Modena High School, Orange USD; Nancy Murray, Principal; Heather Rupert, Advisor
  • Los Alamitos High School, Los Alamitos USD; Carol Hart, Principal; Nona Rafferty, Advisor
  Back to the Top

A Special Message from Amazing Kids! for all you kids and teens:

It's no secret...every person has the potential to be amazing in their own way.  Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what our special talents are! 

If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it!  Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are!  We are always looking for new stories.  And don't be shy!  We'd love to hear from you!
Here's an idea you might want to try:


If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them?  Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talents! 

Amazing Kids! is looking for teens like you to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors. If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: 


 It's cool to be an Amazing Kid!


Calling All Amazing Kids!  We Need Your Help!

If you are, or know any kids who are, doing amazing things, we want to hear about it

Send us your stories, so we might be able to feature you too someday!   Please be patient, and we will do our best to tell your story some day -- hopefully soon! 

Back to the Amazing Kids! of the Month Index

For more information about Amazing Kids!, please contact Alyse Rome, Executive Director, at:
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