Letters to the Editor

More than 50 children benefit from Special Pal Program

The Special Pal Program (otherwise known as P.I.P.) at Friday Harbor Elementary School has been a favorite program of teachers, students and parents for over 20 years. It provides one-on-one and small group time for kids who are going through a difficult time. The program provides them with a caring adult to listen to them, helps them feel more linked to school, and 75-100 percent of the time consistently shows results such as increased positive behavior by students who are enrolled in the program.

The funding for this program was in jeopardy last year, and the program could not begin until January. The Special Pal Program went through some important changes and is a strong program with committed staff. It will begin on time this year, albeit with reduced hours.

There are more than 50 children who will benefit from the program this year who otherwise would have gone without. The entire school community benefits when kids’ emotional and social needs are attended to in such a caring way.

None of the benefits of the Special Pal Program would be possible without the unwavering support of United Way of San Juan County. It is currently the largest financial contributor to the Special Pal Program at Friday Harbor Elementary School.

Through difficult times of not knowing how or if the program would run, United Way sent support in the way of finances and staff visits to our sites to help brainstorm solutions and to link us with other Special Pal Program sites in the county. We continue to rely on United Way and to celebrate it this month as our program begins again.

Please consider supporting United Way of San Juan County. Its contributions support some of the most important programs in the county that benefit children and families. Even better, 99 percent of its contributions go directly to programs here.

Thank you, United Way, for all you do for our community!

Gail Leschine-Seitz
School counselor / Readiness to Learn coordinator

Gary Pflueger
Principal, Friday Harbor Elementary School

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