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Supporting New Brunswick Youth through PALS Partnerships


Today, International Youth Day, people worldwide celebrate and acknowledge youth and the important roles they play in shaping our world. It’s also a day to raise awareness of the challenges youth face globally.  

This International Youth Day, we’re celebrating our J.D. Irving, Limited partnerships with Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS) and the ways that these PALS programs have helped New Brunswick youth thrive. The PALS program began in 2000 as a way to help children in New Brunswick reach their full potential, and is an internationally and nationally honoured anti-poverty initiative. 

PALS supports over 30 schools in New Brunswick, with close to 200 business and community partners and hundreds of volunteers. Here are four of our favourite ways that JDI and PALS have worked together since the New Year: 

1. Bowl for Kids Sake – $1,000,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

This year’s Bowl for Kids Sake marked the event’s tenth anniversary with J.D. Irving, Limited – and an incredible fundraising milestone. J.D. Irving, Limited employees have now raised a total of $1,000,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) over ten years. 

“The different activities, the different fundraisers, the level of excitement in the office for the months leading up to the event – people were really gung-ho to do a good job this year, and they did not disappoint. It was amazing,” said Deborah Fisher, PALS coordinator.

Between the smiles and laughs that filled the bowling alley over the course of the night, and the funds that the event raised for Saint John youth, this year’s Bowl for Kids Sake proved to be another success. 

The donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters will help grow and maintain local youth programs.

2. Promoting Literacy at Glen Falls School

Each year, Glen Falls School hosts their Literacy Night event for parents and students. The event gives participants an opportunity to experience reading with their families. This year, students who attended were able to build their home libraries with donated books from the team at Irving Paper. 

“We are always thankful for our partnership with Irving Paper and our PALS,” said Jill Nylen, Community Schools Coordinator at Glen Falls, “Their willingness to support our students and our school is overwhelming. It’s nice to have a partnership where our students benefit greatly.”

3. APEGNB’s Soap Box Derby, in support of PALS in the Park

This year’s Soap Box Derby, hosted by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists New Brunswick, was another hit! The day was filled with fun and high speeds for the children who raced down the hill, helped out as pit crew members, and came to cheer on participants. 

J.D. Irving, Limited PALS partners sponsored 5 cars in the event this year. Many other PALS partners, businesses, and groups sponsored the 30 other derby cars.

“Sponsoring schools taking part in the derby is important, because the children get to have a great experience with this event, but then they also get to participate in the PALS in the Park program later on,” said Deborah Fisher, PALS Coordinator. “The activities they get to participate in with that program will supplement and support their school curriculum.”

4. Growing Gardens with Seaside Park Elementary

J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) partnered with Seaside Park Elementary School in June to provide the required materials for their new school garden project. The lumber used to build the garden boxes, along with the soil, were donated by the Sawmills Division and Kent Building Supplies donated the hardware.

"Seaside Park Elementary is our neighbour and we appreciate the talented students at Harbour View High who helped build these garden boxes. It is very rewarding to support the hands-on learning that is happening at both schools. These students are the environmental stewards, professionals and tradespeople of the future," said Brett Anderson, JDI Sawmill Division.

To learn more about International Youth Day

Go to the United Nation’s info page about the day.

About PALS

The PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) Program addresses the needs associated with students living in poverty. Initiated in Saint John by Mr. James K. Irving and the local school district, PALS has grown to over 30 schools in NB with close to 200 business and community partners and hundreds of volunteers. 

PALS partners help impact children’s academic achievements, attendance, school spirit, motivation, social skills, sports activity, and cultural awareness. Volunteer activities include mentoring, coaching, serving breakfast, offering career guidance, organizing after school clubs, and helping behind the scenes.