In 1914, the Police Athletic League started when Police Commissioner Arthur Woods organized a search for vacant lots to be converted into playgrounds. Today, PAL provides a broad spectrum of services to 55,000 children in all five boroughs of New York City each year. We are committed to ensuring that all our children understand the concepts of responsibility, respect and safety by providing models of that behavior. Our educational, recreational and cultural programs inspire and support children throughout the year.
PAL Centers, which are located in some of New York’s most challenging and richly historical neighborhoods, allow children and families to benefit from recreational, educational, cultural and social activities. Seventeen youth centers, eight of which are school based, offer full-service after-school programs for children from ages six to 13 and evening programs for teenagers 13-19. PAL SMARTS, ARTS, FIT, and KIDS Events programs are a collection of fun learning activities that help children develop educational, physical, cultural and social skills. Our 26 part-time centers focus on teenagers in areas of high risk and vary community by community offering an array of PAL programs designed to prevent anti-social behaviors. Participants from all of our centers have the opportunity to enter our nine citywide contests, such as Police Commissioner for a Day , Tell It Like It Is Public Speaking Contest, and the Spring Poetry Jam to name a few.
We continue our commitment to sports with 1,300 leagues in baseball, softball, basketball, flag football, soccer, tennis and volleyball. There are also opportunities for boxing, and an active program in track and field.
PAL’s teen participants have excellent opportunities for college exploration and career counseling. There are 1,500 summer jobs available through the Summer Youth Employment Program as well as a school year employment program for a few hundred in-school youth. Over 400 teens are taking advantage of our prevention and intervention services offered through our Juvenile Justice programs which include Re-entry, RISE, and truancy prevention programs.
During the summer months, PAL operates 15 day camps and over 100 Play Streets in strategic locations throughout the five boroughs. Using a different theme each summer, PAL kids explore various regions of the world by learning about the music, food, language, art, dance, and rituals of other cultures. Their findings are presented in colorful and exuberant displays at the annual, city-wide PAL Cultural Day Festival. On PAL Play Streets young people enjoy outdoor games, arts and crafts, reading activities and cultural opportunities highlighted by five Borough Days art displays, competitions, presentations, and plenty of excitement. Children and their families look forward to returning to the Play Streets year after year for the rewarding activities and the fun.
At PAL, we believe that “Before kids can go places, they need a place to go.” Each of our programs city-wide is “a place to go.” We constructively challenge our young people and encourage their intellectual, social, physical and cultural development so they become productive members of society who realize their full individual potential, and value their neighbors and themselves.
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