PALS hosts annual Evening with PALS at Milagros

ALAMOSA — On Thursday La Puente’s PALS (Positive Activities Lead to Success) program hosted their annual Evening with PALS fundraising event at Milagros Coffee House in Alamosa.

PALS is an afterschool and summer care children’s program that aims to serve the San Luis Valley (SLV) by providing positive adult interactions to children who have experienced some type of difficult or traumatic event in their lives. PALS works to provide children with a compassionate and safe environment where they can learn and engage with the PALS staff. Developing these relationships at such a critical age range (5-9) helps the PALS children rise above the hardships in their lives and allows them to envision a life full of potential and promise.

Every year, the PALS staff and children get together and perform a concert for the SLV community. Before the concert, the children served appetizers and mingled with the attendees. To many this may seem like a minimal task, but to the kids this was a huge responsibility. Following appetizers, the children thanked the guests for attending by giving each of them a keychain, which were made by the PALS kids themselves. This was a beautiful interaction between the children and attendees as they engaged with one another and built connections.

After the performance, guests listened to a few guest speakers while they were served a lovely meal by Pepita’s Catering.  Joy Mejia, recently awarded as the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year, was the first to speak. Joy was a member of the PALS program from 2005-2009 and spoke about the long lasting impact the program had in her life. 

“PALS made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be,” she said.

The current PALS AmeriCorps members then shared brief stories, which included where they came from and what brought them to PALS, as well as their experiences thus far.

To conclude the evening, Don Hanna, the new PALS director, talked about children being born with addiction and the impact that a positive adult role model can play in those children’s lives, which is what led him to seek out his current role. Prior to joining La Puente, Don was a youth pastor with the Alamosa Presbyterian Church and has been a foster parent for 12 years. This was an important event for Don and community members alike as it was his first event as the PALS director, and his introduction to the Alamosa community.

La Puente thanks all of the community members that came out to the event, including those who supported from afar.  The PALS program would not be possible without the support of community members. To be part of creating a safe, positive, learning environment for kids who have been through hard times, please consider volunteering or donating to the PALS program. Please reach out to [email protected] or call (719)-589-6316.

Caption: PALS youth perform a concert during the annual Evening with PALS on Thursday night. Courtesy photo