Dec. 6, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- Members of the New Mexico baseball and softball teams participated in the annual Power Pals Holiday Celebration Wednesday at Kirtland Elementary School. The Lobos have spent an hour each week throughout the fall semester tutoring and mentoring the students. The Holiday celebration was a token of appreciation for the UNM student-athletes hard work and dedication to their Power Pals.
"This is a priceless program that enriches the lives of our students and the Power Pals as well," said Kirtland Principal Peter Espinosa. "Both sides take away something that they wouldn't have had the experience unless they were involved in a program like this. This is truly a great experience for the students to be involved with healthy athletes that come in and support them in their lives. It gives them a great chance of being successful. This program has been going on for nearly 20 years and it continues to have a great impact on both parties."
The Power Pal program has influenced the student's academic progress and increased their self-esteem and improved their behavior. The UNM student-athletes volunteer an hour a week to work with specific children. Half of the time is spent focusing on academics with the other half spent doing recreational activities and other enrichment programs. Through the program both the UNM student-athletes and the students of Kirtland have developed strong relationships.
"Daniel (a fifth grade student) and I have built a great friendship during our time and it really gives me a release," said baseball junior Jordan Pacheco. "We can talk about sports and anything that is going on in his life. We've had the opportunity to play football and do other things that have been a lot of fun. This is a great program and the guys on the team really like coming out. The students have really become our friends and we enjoy taking the time out of our schedules to make a difference. I hope that we can continue to come out and be a part of their lives."
Over 50 students have been involved in the Power Pal program this fall and numerous others throughout the 20 year history. In addition to the weekly visits, everyone involved in the Power Pal program attended the UNM football game against TCU on Nov. 11, 2006. Throughout the experiences both the mentors and students have benefited greatly.
"This is really meaningful to the kids and has made a difference in our lives as well," said softball senior Amy Ray. "It's nice to come out and interact with the kids. I've been involved in this program for four years and every year we continue to help these kids develop. We help them with school work and have a lot of fun playing games. This program means a lot to both the students and the mentors."
The Power Pal program has been an outreach program that has shown the effects of how people can support and help students develop. Through the program, UNM and Kirtland look forward to supporting the students and their development for many more years.