This is my second year of being a Breakfast PAL at Hutchison Elementary. Last year I was not sure if I could commit to the 1/2 hour weekly because I travel a lot for work. As it turns out, there was flexibility with our scheduleand I am happy to say I am with my same PAL this year also.

Our time together is usually spent reading, completing homework, or my PAL enjoys making cards for her family for special occasions. I will bring in construction paper and crayons around holidays for her to make her cards. It is a great way to start the morning before going to work and has been very rewarding.

In the beginning, we got off to a slow start. My PAL is very shy and English is her second language. It appeared that she was not enjoying our visits. After a few months of meeting, I met with the teacher to ask for suggestions or possibly change students. The teacher told me my PAL did not talk very much in class so the fact that she was conversing with me at allwas a significant milestone. She really lacked the confidence and we needed to establish a trust so she would feel comfortable to talk freely since English-speaking at home was minimal. I thanked her and decided to continue meeting with my PAL.

When I went to meet my PAL in the cafeteria on the same day, she came running over to me with a big smile and shewas so excited to share her family’s recent visit to Chuck E Cheese. That day was a “God winks” moment. Since that day, she always has a big smile and has shared with me that Thursdays are her favorite days to come to school because that is our day to meet.God had me exactly where I should be; I just needed to be patient to reap the fruit of our time together.

This program provides these children with a role model and positive individual attention they may not get at home. Every Thursday, when I see my PAL smile and giggle, the reward is to know our half hour is making a difference in her life and in my life too.

For more information on how to become involved with the Hutchison PALS program, contact Jake McGlothin at jmcglothin@floriumc.org.

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