Connecting Area Teens
The Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support (PALS) program, overseen by professionals at UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, is making strides to help students in local schools.
Middle school and high school can be some of the toughest times in an adolescent’s life. During this period – which is oftentimes when teens need the most support – they can feel as if they have nowhere to turn. PALS, Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support, is working to change that—by providing students with an outlet, a friend and a mentor.
Currently, there are PALS programs in five schools in Gainesville: A. Quinn Jones Center, Buchholz High School, Eastside High School, Ft. Clarke Middle School and Gainesville High School. Each program includes crisis intervention and individual psychotherapy, and provides high school students ages 14-18 the opportunity to participate in group psychotherapy and prevention programming.
Each school also offers special programs that cater to the specific needs of its students. These can range from peer support groups for at-risk athletes, leadership group, or social skills groups designed to help socially maladaptive at-risk students.
The PALS committee, a group of local business professionals and UF Health employees, is dedicated to providing these services to local students. In order to fundraise for the programs, the committee hosts two events each year.
- The PALS Party, currently in its third year, is a night of sing-along fun at Rockey’s Dueling Piano Bar. The event includes a dueling piano bar show, hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and a silent auction.
- The committee also hosts the PALS Golf Tournament, which consists of a golf scramble, raffle, lunch, dinner and a short program for golfers and their guests. The 2013 tournament also featured students who have benefitted from the PALS program, and allowed them an outlet to share their stories with supporters. The tournament has been sponsored by Bosshardt Realty, Inc. for the past 14 years.
Through these events, PALS hopes to provide the funding necessary to deliver the best care for teens and adolescents in the area, and to expand the program to new schools.
To learn more about PALS and how you can help students in our area, visit the website here.