By Karyn Morrison
Niagara Gazette — As a special education teacher the Police Athletic League has and continues to be a huge benefit to my students. Something I have always instilled in them is that it is more important to give back to your community then it is to receive from it. PAL has been instrumental to me being able to teach that lesson to my students.
During my 20 years of teaching I have been able to use the PAL van for taking my class on field trips that would not have been possible otherwise. Having a class of 12 students the cost for a regular size school bus is just too expensive and cumbersome to take such a small group on trips. With the PAL van we can use the community as our classroom. This brings the real world into my teaching all thanks to PAL.
With the PAL van my class has been able to go on fieldtrips to places like Equistar Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Newfane (what a thrill it is for a student with physical limitations to ride a horse for the first time), apple picking in the fall, and to internship opportunities around the city. We also borrow the van each year to attend a Special Olympics Competition. One year my students raised money and PAL allowed us to borrow the van to go to Washington D.C. Prior to this, seven of the 10 students I took had never left Western New York. Those students still talk about the trip and what a great time they had. It was an opportunity that could have only been made possible by PAL.
PAL also helps me in teaching my students how to give back to those that help us. Each month my students are the workers that help to assemble the mailing of the PAL calendar. They are learning job skills that will help them in the future and helping PAL at the same time. I have one student that every month says, “Mrs. Morrison we do this to help PAL and they let us use the van right?”
In addition, PAL has always supported the students in my class. Sometimes this is to help out with the cost of a field trip, to supply T-shirts to an activity, or sometimes to help out an individual student in need. I know if I need help PAL will help me find a way to solve the problem.
I am speaking on my own behalf but I am only one of the dozens of teachers in the Niagara Falls School System that benefit from the generosity of the Niagara PAL. But if they are to continue to help us PAL needs our help. Please consider supporting PAL.
Thank you PAL for all the wonderful things you do for the children of Niagara County. Donations can be sent to Niagara PAL 4455 Porter Road, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14305.Karyn Morrison is a teacher at Niagara Falls High School.