Program Title:

Program for Academic & Leadership Skills (PALS), USA

Washington, DC

Requested NGO and Partner:
Youth Leadership Foundation (YLF)


Foundation Womens Advancement, North America

Program Summary:

Washington, D.C. is a city in crisis with failing schools, notorious for being among the worst in the nation. Children are the unfortunate victims of this system that offers them little hope for the future. All indicators show that the longer you can keep a student engaged in school, the better chance the student has of a positive future that includes graduating high school and moving on to college. This appears to be the single greatest determinant of the type of job and level of income the student will have in adulthood.

Since its start in 1993, PALS has helped children who are on the brink of becoming another part of these statistics by running an after-school program and a summer program. It focuses its efforts on nearly 300 girls a year who have average academic performance in at-risk situations, and are likely to slip through the cracks without guidance. PALS has found that its concentration on character development is often the first and sometimes only exposure students have to concepts such as personal responsibility, respect, and integrity. By teaching children their place in society and what it means to be a good and contributing member of the overall community, they gain an understanding of what it means to succeed as an individual, and develop an interest in how to do so.

The Foundation for Women's Advancement and PALS recognize the importance that character development has on a child's future. Academic education alone often falls short in preparing children for success. PALS' unique combination of character development and academic advancement provides children with the specific tools they need to do well in school, take pride in their performance, garner a love for learning, and stay in school.

Expected Impact 2019:

Total girls and parents impacted: 556

Total students enrolled in PALS: 278

Foundation Womens Advancement, Programs North America



“I feel very blessed to have found the PALS program for my niece, Erin. The program has helped her in many ways to learn so much about herself. It has helped to build her character and self-esteem. Erin has been able to achieve personal growth and academic success through the tutoring and mentoring at PALS. It has also helped to ignite her creativity in the arts. She was involved in the 2008 summer production 'Happily Ever After' and she really shined.”


“I have been able to discern how the knowledge and experience of the PALS Program has helped them with their regular school work and improved social life. They have gained a new sense of responsibility and maturity that only comes through the dedication of a well qualified teaching staff. As you well know this maturity Karina has gained is what has kept her from listening to ill advice from kids involved in other than school activities, and as a result of your program other kids from her school, having seen their progress, have requested to join the program. Some of their families, the ones I know, have commented how hopeful they are that their kids are accepted into the program. I hope this will be possible.”