The PALS Program (Preparation for Adult Living Services) helps at-risk young people transition to a successful adulthood. Managed by the Central Plains Center for Services and funded by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, PALS has helped the youth it serves make significant gains in education, employment status, housing, health and community engagement.
When Shante came to the PALS program, she was a state ward who was living at Boys Town. She was still in high school, and spoke to her PALS worker, Nicole Frey, about her options for continuing her education after high school.
“She spoke so candidly and strongly about her educational plans and goals,” said Nicole. “I was very impressed and did my best to help her navigate to get where she wanted to be.”
Shante was about to finish high school with a 4.0 grade point average. She had already looked into Northeast Community College on her own, and started working with Nicole to get registered for classes and find help paying for tuition and books. Shante received ongoing support from Nicole as she completed a semester at Northeast and the decided to transfer to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Despite the lack of consistent supports or family, Shante’s intense work ethic and strong motivation paid off time and again. She maintained a high GPA through the transfer to UNO. She recieved the prestigious Susan Buffet Scholarship. She’s still in school at UNO, and is continuing to push herself forward, with help from Nicole, into an independent adulthood.
Supporting youth to attain education that will allow them to be self-sufficient is one of the main goals of the PALS program. Shante’s examples shows how a little focused guidance can go a long way to help youth get firmly planted on the right path. Shante has been a motivation to everyone she meets, including her PALS worker. “She is a real testament to hard work and dedication,” said Nicole. “She will go very far and I am just fortunate to witness her journey.”