PALS is a per-based, voluntary, support and advocacy group – a group of parents and caregivers in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys – who seek to make a difference in the lives of families.
As a voice for families interfacing with and/or accessing social services, PALS members have gone to Sacramento as advocates for family matters and locally. PALS members are instrumental to SPIRITT as they provide a crucial social support network to families while increasing awareness, understanding and action around the prevention of family violence. The group has also served as an advisory council for SPIRITT providing feedback and ideas to strengthen the quality of SPIRITT services.
PALS began in February 2008, in response to requests by client alumni, who graduated from the CARIÑO Partnerships for Families program, and wanted to stay involved with SPIRITT to lend a helping hand to other families interfacing with the child welfare system and/or facing family challenges.
Through their participation in PALS, this group of dynamic parents has become known as Parent Advocate’s for SPIRITT – volunteering their time and efforts to educate the community as well as serving as parent role-models. Members attend trainings and conferences, they help SPIRITT engage families in programs, conduct outreach for services, and co-facilitate agency support groups.
Recently, the group set a fundraising goal to benefit SPIRITT programs and through their community contacts, they outreached new friends to the organization and exceeded their fundraising goal.
But PALS is best known for giving back to the community by educating and empowering parents and youth. For the past 6 years the group has planned, organized and hosted a community conference to increase knowledge about important issues such as drug abuse, domestic violence and higher education.
Last year, PALS members sought to take some of their own advice and go back to school to finish their education. Several members of the group and additional community members they recruited began taking classes with the goal of obtaining their high school diploma. In December 2014, 19 proud parents graduated in caps and gowns purchased by the City of South El Monte.