Al’s Pals Volunteers Lead Matthews Elementary Students in Dance and more!

Al’s Pals is a University of Alabama volunteer organization that allows students to go into local elementary schools as mentors and other leadership positions. These mentors are college students who pair with a student to assist them in homework help and other enrichment activities once a week after the school day.

For the second year, UA Theatre & Dance has sent in some of our volunteers to participate in the enrichment portion of the Al’s Pals program. Last spring, we worked with Northington Elementary to bring the students acting and improv experience. This year we have two exceptional dance students, Mandy Mays and Helena Deane, who visit Matthews Elementary School in Northport to teach dance to some of their fifth-grade students.

Each Tuesday, Mandy and Helena arrive to lead the students and their mentors in a warm-up, demonstrations of dance techniques, work across the floor, and finally building a combination. The students are working on completing a final dance to perform for family and friends at the end of the semester.

“Al’s Pals has reminded me why I began dancing. The love the students have for creative movement inspires me every day,” said Mandy. Helena shares a similar sentiment, saying “Working for Al’s Pals teaching dance is a humbling experience that reminds me constantly that I was given a gift to share with others, and not only do the students enjoy it, but the energy they give me and I give them makes my soul smile!” Both Mandy and Helena got to share their experiences working with Al’s Pals and other teaching experiences with the middle and high school students who attended our second annual University of Alabama Dance Festival last Saturday.

UA Theatre & Dance partners with Al’s Pals every Spring. The school we work with is selected by the University of Alabama and we can’t wait to participate again in spring 2018! For more information on the outreach activities of UA Theatre & Dance, please visit or email