Al's Pals Afterschool Mentoring Program

The Mission

Al’s Pals is a one-on-one mentoring program serving elementary school students in the Tuscaloosa community. Programs take place after-school from 2:45-5:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and the current sites include Matthews Elementary, Maxwell Elementary School, Englewood Elementary, and Benjamin Barnes YMCA.

Mentors commit to serving one afternoon a week for at least a semester, and mentors help their mentees complete homework, reinforce reading and math skills, and facilitate enrichment and recreational activities. Each academic year, Al's Pals have over 1,000 college students serve as mentors and student leaders within the organization, and approximately 27,000 hours per academic year are served.

How this Organization is Igniting Innovation

Access to higher-education opportunities and experiences for low-income students is very limited. Many elementary schools in the Tuscaloosa community do not have the resources to bring their students to college campuses and expose them to higher education opportunities.

"We hope to incorporate innovative technologies from the engineering department, including EcoCar and 3D printer demonstrations, into the campus tour so our mentees are exposed to current innovative work occurring on UA’s campus."

Thus, the field trips that this grant would fund may also be some elementary school students’ first experiences on a college campus, despite living so close to many higher-learning institutions.