Wednesday Walking PALS, Volunteers for Youth, Claremore
Christy Province, principal of the Claremore Alternative Learning/Virtual Academy, is being honored as an exceptional leader and mentor for Wednesday Walking Pals, a program that pairs mentors with elementary students for short walks while engaging in discussion points on wellness and making healthy choices.
In her role, Province coaches high school students who are Wednesday Walking peer mentors to younger Academy students on how to be a proper role model and how to effectively reach their mentees.
“What she’s doing,” says Celina Davis, PALS Program project director, “is the truest example of ‘the ripple effect.’ She is helping train her high school students to be good citizens and emulate this to the younger generation to follow suit. … Her impact is exponential.”
Davis notes that Province has been able to convince her students at the Alternative Learning school to “not only participate in something outside of themselves as peer mentors, but also engage with these younger students and protect them along the route, as well as do well in school and life – all while taking a walk!”
In involving the high school students in this project, Province showed not only keen insight into her students, but also a willingness to think outside the box, as the following story shows.
One of Province’s mentees recalls Province voicing concern early on that her high school students may not fully understand their role as peer mentors, and she quickly realized that those students could benefit from a leadership and character-building course.
“There is approximately an hour between finishing walking the students to school to the time when Alternative Living students report for class,” the mentee says. “So, she promised those students a full credit if they participated in Wednesday Walking PALS, followed by a leadership class. In order to ensure they made it every Wednesday, she promised them a homemade breakfast.”
About the Program: Wednesday Walking PALS pairs elementary students with mentors for 1/3-mile to 1/2-mile walks on safe sidewalks, engaging in discussion points on such topics as nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, and other health topics.