Community opportunities between Palisades Charter High School and the Palisades-Malibu YMCA continue to grow, as the two recently approved another contract with the school's board of trustees.
Principal Pam Magee said they went into partnership last year with the YMCA Center for Social Responsibility to get the students more involved with community service, which also ties into their required service learning credit for graduation.
"I think it's working really well," she said, noting it encourages Pali High students to stay involved with their activities, and kids in other Los Angeles communities are involved through a similar connection with their local YMCA. "The students like it."
Palisades-Malibu YMCA Executive Director Carol Pfannkuche said they are excited to expand the program this year.
"Many Palisadians are helping by offering ideas for service projects, so the students now have a much larger list of options from which to choose than they did last year," she said. "Also, Palisades residents have asked the Y to provide community service opportunities to everyone in town, beyond just the high school."
Pffankuche said her staff works with students in several ways, such as having staff in an office on campus where students can come to see an array of volunteer opportunities and sign up. Students also come to the Palisades-Malibu YMCA campus office to turn in forms that document their hours of community service work completed. In addition, students can come to the YMCA to talk with staff about the Center for Social Responsibility, and they have a dedicated cell phone so students can call or send a text message.
"Y staff members work with Pali High clubs and classes that want to do their own community service projects," she said. "At the end of the year, the YMCA gives certificates to all students who complete 100 hours or more of community service work."
At the encouragement of Dr. Magee, the YMCA introduced the youth and government program this year at Pali High, which includes a February trip to Sacramento where there students take over the Capitol and propose a bill to the real legislature.
Pffankuche noted the YMCA appreciates the support of Pali High to provide its members with aquatics activities, and the YMCA's youth sports programs enjoy the Pali High basketball gym and fields.
"Once the Y’s Simon Meadow improvements are completed, we hope to make the field available to meet some of Pali High’s needs," she added, noting that staff from the high school are involved with their programs, like the cheer coach leading a new youth cheerleading program at the YMCA, and a Pali High track coach planning to lead a new Y youth track program early in 2013.
For more information or to get community service ideas, visit www.ysocialresponsibilitycenter.org.