Two requirements for volunteers and instructors working in the PALS Lab are concern for people and commitment to the importance of education. Mallory Wooten exhibited both of these characteristics in her work with these students.
PALS Lab Community Needs & Solutions – Statistics have shown that there is a sizable segment of the population in Northwest Alabama that do not have a high school diploma or GED. The contribution to society from an individual who does not possess a basic education will be greatly diminished from an economic and familiar perspective. By serving as a volunteer in the Adult Literacy/PALS Lab, Mallory Wooten helped people reach personal educational goals and strengthened the community by raising the educational level of potential employees and parents.
Connection Building – Many of the students attending the Adult Literacy/PALS Lab face challenges, which have prevented them from being served by traditional educational resources. Mallory showed a special talent for using the one-to-one method of teaching used in Adult Literacy. This method of instruction builds student confidence and allows them to feel comfortable as they try to reconnect to the educational process. The resources of the PALS Lab are easily adaptable to serve students on both ends of the academic spectrum from non-readers to more advanced learners.
Volunteers and teachers working on the PALS Lab must be able to work with community stakeholders. Mallory gained significant experience as she formulated and monitored the educational plans of students referred from agencies including juvenile probation, K-12 school systems, social service agencies and the court system.
Ongoing Involvement – The PALS Lab operates every month per year, meeting the needs of students throughout Northwest Alabama. After successfully completing the curriculum, students may opt to take the GED Test or enter other areas of study. The lab is also a part of the community college system.
Impact – By working in the PALS Lab, Mallory was able to yield a significant impact on individuals and community at large. Studies have shown a direct correlation between educational achievement and lifetime earnings. In addition, the PALS Lab has a positive impact on the population on Northwest Alabama by developing a more highly skilled population and workforce.
Innovation – The PALS Lab is unique in the way it gives instructors state of the art equipment to employ in a student friendly environment. Mallory’s familiarity with computers and her ability to work closely with people made her a good match for the lab.