Home > Uncategorized > Perfect Pals is Life-Changing

Perfect Pals is Life-Changing

This is a blog post by Elizabeth Reed, a junior at Nantucket High School, and a member of the National Honor Society. She is actively involved in high school theater productions, as well as president of Perfect Pals, Nantucket High School’s mentoring club for students with disabilities.


I do not think there are words with enough emotion to describe how proud I am to be the president of Nantucket High School’s Perfect Pals club. Time and time again this club has surpassed every expectation I had set forth for it. I have been taught so much from this group, about the value of each and every person on this planet, about enjoying the simple pleasures in life, and, above all else, about human compassion. Although this is only our second year running this club in our school, I can already see the impact that it has made, and will continue to make long after I have graduated. More than once I have seen a few of my classmates sitting with one or two Pals at lunch, something, unfortunately, I do not think would ever have occurred as an option in our teenage minds before this group began. When we host one of our events, and get our Pals and volunteers together to play board games after school, or make Valentine’s Day cards, or decorate gingerbread houses, social barriers literally come crashing down. ‘Popular’ football player, ‘smart’ girl, ‘loser’; all of those labels disappear and we all become just a group of kids, hanging out.

I believe that I speak for many when I say that Perfect Pals is a life-changing group. Once you become involved, you begin to truly appreciate the other people that inhabit this world, and each of their strengths and weaknesses, and things they have to offer. The kids that walk through the doors for our events have so much compassion and kindness to offer to a world that often treats them so cruelly. It blows my mind. I have also seen my classmates volunteer to be put in positions I really never expected that they would be willing to put themselves in, sometimes doing things they themselves did not know they were capable of. This group offers countless opportunities for us all to grow and learn and become better versions of ourselves. In doing that, we are also creating a better version of our high school, one generation at a time. This group IS making a difference.

I remember being very young and asking my mother what it meant for a person to be ‘autistic.’ She answered me simply, “It means that they see the world differently than you and I.” The younger version of myself found this answer to be satisfactory, and since then it has remained firmly planted somewhere in my subconscious. I cannot think of a more perfect way to put it. Autistic children are different, but not in a way that is ‘wrong’ or ‘imperfect.’ Perhaps, they are, in fact, more perfect. Think about it this way: everyone wants to be happy. As humans, our main goal in life is to obtain happiness by any means necessary. In the current day and age, this natural search for happiness has become ‘polluted’ by the media, telling us that in order to be truly happy we must all be rich, skinny, and famous. To an autistic child, those things mean nothing. Happiness can be obtained by something as simple as playing a game, getting a hug, or having friends to sit with at lunch. It is a much more natural, beautiful way to live. How could anyone think there is anything ‘wrong’ with that?

For information about the Nantucket Autism Speaks Resource Center and their activities, visit www.autismspeaks.org/community/resources/nantucket.php.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kathleen
    March 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Great job! Maybe you could establish a facebook page for this mentoring program and show other students how to get a club started!!

  2. Donna
    March 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    You are doing a wonderful thing. Keep up the great work. You should make this club national to all schools. So many kids with disabilties just want to be accepted and not looked at being different. Your family must be very proud of you. Great job!!!

  3. Tanya
    March 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    As a mother of a child with autism and dealing with our local public school I wish that there was something like this in place. Our children just want they same as other children but do not know how to express or even communicate their desires. Bless you and your group and perhaps other schools should take notice. You go girl!

  4. Jackie
    March 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I would love any information you could provide on how you started your club. Our high school in Michigan could really benefit from this type of group. Do you have a website for your club?

  5. Sarah
    March 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Elizabeth,

    I would love to see such a program start in our school system. I think our kids would feel less like social outcasts. We were talking about ways to make our kids feel more included so this idea is perfect. My son is only 7 but I think it will get harder for him as he gets older.

    Do you have information on how to start a perfect pals club at school that you could post? This is a great idea and could make a huge difference for our kids. Thank you!

  6. kelly Bain-Borjas
    March 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Elizabeth..it is refreshing to see that some of our younger generations have “Big Hearts” and just plain get the fact that these kids are quirkey, kool & have alot to offer others & vis/versa…As a mother of a autistic 10th grade son i have been frustrated with the school system that ignores the fact that everyone needs a good positive social mix especially @ their free periods..Student Mentors should be part every school system .
    After negative Things has happenened to my son in his school.. I have suggested to the Principal about a program similar to yours.So far nothing is happening.. yet…. please let me know how you started this in your school..

  7. March 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

    What a terrific concept! You are making a big difference.

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