November 14, 2016:
In Greater Saint John and beyond, you may have spotted the PALS Kids on the Go bus taking Saint John children to and from enriching programs and activities such as PALS in the Park, sporting events and the high school PALS En Route to success work placements.
In the driver’s seat is Paul Dalton, winner of a Fundy Wellness Network Champion award.
Krista Turnbull, Community Schools and PALS Coordinator for St. Patrick’s School nominated Paul for the award. “It’s not just a trip on the bus with the bus driver; Paul goes above and beyond to make the kids and our staff feel special,” explained Krista.
The internationally-recognized PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) program began in 2000. The program aims to help break the cycle of poverty by partnering local businesses and community groups with neighbourhood schools, with a focus on academic achievement and a positive learning environment. As part of the program, the Kids on the Go bus provides transportation to enriching activities beyond classroom walls, courtesy of Mr. J. K. Irving, the founding partner of PALS.
In the last 15 years the PALS Kids on the Go bus has made 3,600 co-curricular and extra-curricuar trips. For the 2016-2017 school year there are almost 600 trips planned already.
Paul has been driving the Kids on the Go bus for 15 years, one of several drivers for the first 13 years, and now as a full-time employee of Industrial Security. Paul has seen the PALS program grow. “I started driving for the PALS program in 2001. It’s neat to have been involved for so long; kids I drove years ago are now in high school.” Paul thanked Krista for the nomination, “she always makes sure the kids say, ‘thanks, Paul for the trip.’ That’s the kind of thing that makes you realize maybe you’re just not a bus driver, maybe you’re part of the program."
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