At the end of each Spring and Fall semester, the Literacy Coalition celebrates over 100 families who complete our 14-week PALS Program. PALS, our bilingual parent education program, provides parents with the necessary tools to support their child’s cognitive and social-emotional development. Since the program’s inception in 2014, it has grown in all aspects, and now holds classes at 16 different sites across three school districts.
With each graduating class, more and more families are asking our PALS team what’s next.
The summer of 2019 introduced the very first PALS Summer Series, comprising of three separate day-long programs for PALS alumni and future students: Financial Literacy Day, Health Literacy Day, and PALS for Dads Day.
The PALS team chose these topics as they best relate to PALS families, who are often new to Austin and may be unfamiliar with local resources. Local partners attended each event to share their organizations’ resources with attending PALS parents.
Financial Literacy Day was held on June 29th, and began with Foundation Communities’ Money Management Class for parents while kids made piggy banks out of repurposed water bottles. “There’s a support system out there for families in need,” Melissa, the PALS Program Director said. “It’s important that our families understand how debt, credit, and budgeting fit into their lives. Many of them know more than they think they do.”
After Foundation Communities’ presentation, the Texas Capital Bank Mobile Center arrived and invited parents on board to use the technology-based Financial Instructional Tools (FIT) curriculum, which provides customizable financial education for all ages.
On July 20th, Planned Parenthood, Maximus, Superior Heath Plan presented for Health Literacy Day. Planed Parenthood facilitated their Hable Primero workshop, followed by Maximus and Superior Health Plan’s presentations which provided parents with various tools to have healthy and positive conversations about health and development.
The final program in the PALS Summer Series, PALS for Dads Day, was held on August 10th. As the majority of parents attending the PALS program are mothers, the PALS team put together PALS for Dads Day to encourage fathers to experience PALS program strategies first-hand and interact with their children in the classroom. The program began with a brief presentation by the PALS team about the importance of positive reinforcement and parent-child interactions. Dads and kids made necklaces and colored while using PALS strategies.
Thanks to all of our partners, presenters, and in-kind donors who made the 2019 PALS Summer Series a success!