PAL’S EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAM

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña visit our World of Creative Experiences Center, which serves PAL’s youngest, ages 3-5 years. The Chancellor and I saw firsthand the results of a parent engagement activity called Daddy Art Day – where fathers and their children made art together at the center. We were also fortunate to have Brooklyn’s elected officials Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and State Senator Roxanne Persaud join us to celebrate this day. It was terrific to see our city officials and elected leaders so invested in our youth, and so impressed with PAL’s offerings.

Thanks to the funding from New York City Administration for Children's Services, we serve 550 girls and boys, ages 2-5, in six centers in Brooklyn and Queens. Our research-based curriculum not only focuses on developmental learning but also exposes the kids to dance and music.  

Another strong component of our Early Childhood Education program is that parents are closely engaged with their children’s development. Our parents volunteer in classes, attend monthly family workshops and even take part in literacy efforts such as our signature initiative “Bridging the Achievement Gap.” Through this initiative, we lend books to parents who then read them to their children at home. We make sure that the vocabulary from the selected books are incorporated in lesson planning. We have found that it is a great way to enhance our children’s vocabulary and reading skills.

The best part of working with Pre-K kids is that our staff get to see a dramatic transition – our kids come in as toddlers and then they graduate ready to attend a full school day. Our neighboring public schools speak highly of our Early Education programs, especially in getting our kids well-prepared for the rigors of schooling. In fact, 100% of our kids graduate our program Kindergarten ready.

Later this month, our PAL staff will prepare a hearty and nutritious Thanksgiving meal for our kids and parents to say thanks for another great year.

I want to say thanks to NYPD officers and all of you for supporting us this year – your monetary gifts, volunteer efforts, and feedback have helped PAL to give our young people another remarkable year of academic, sports and arts programming. We appreciate your generosity.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

PAL Cops and Kids Sports Program

Dear Friends,

As you know, PAL was founded in 1914 by police officers who wanted to inspire young people as positive role models and mentors. More than 100 years later, we are proud to continue our special relationship with the NYPD to inspire young New Yorkers to dream big. PAL’s signature Cops and Kids Sports program is a prime example of our ability to bring officers and youth together.

This fall, our flag football season is underway across all five boroughs of New York City. About 80 police officers will coach and play along with 1,000 PAL youth, ages 9-19.

The Cops and Kids flag football tournament is friendly but competitive! The tournament season culminates with a citywide championship game in December. Last year’s winning team was from Queens North, led by Officer Lamont Anderson, a longtime friend to PAL youth. You can look for an interview with Officer Anderson in the upcoming edition of the PAL newsletter.

In the coming year, we will also be hosting PAL Cops and Kids leagues for basketball, volleyball, soccer, and softball. We will keep you posted about the tournaments on our social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

We are grateful to NFL’s New York Jets for donating $40,000 worth of supplies such as uniforms and sports equipment. We also thank Chief of Community Affairs Bureau Joanne Jaffe and officers of Community Affairs Youth Services for their unstinting dedication to PAL youth.

Thanks to the efforts of PAL staff and NYPD officers, 89% of PAL teens say that their outlook toward the law enforcement community has improved.

As always, we are grateful for supporters like you for making PAL Cops and Kids possible - thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

 

 

Back to After-School

Dear Friends,

We thank our supporters and families for another successful summer at PAL. More than 4,000 young people made PAL their second home – participating in our summer camps, PAL PLAYSTREETS and Summer Youth Employment Program.

Last week, our youth went back at PAL in our after-school and teen programs such as our college and work readiness program In-STEP, our juvenile justice program Youth Link, and our Cops and Kids sports programs just to name a few. .

Starting this month, our PAL after-school kids and staff are ready for another year of learning. This school year, in addition to our academic work, children will begin with hands-on after-school activities focused on the theme “Cooking and Nutrition.” Also, our kids will engage in visual and performing arts as well as physical activities every week.

On September 27th, PAL’s Board of Directors hosts our 45th annual “Superstar Dinner” to support much-needed programs for PAL kids. We are proud to honor David Boies, an internationally distinguished attorney and the Chairman of Boies Schiller Flexner. The gala, chaired by Maurice R. Greenberg, will be held at the Pierre Hotel. Please visit our website for more information about PAL’s premiere special event.

In the coming months, I will continue to update you on our progress to inspire young people. We also have very active Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter pages where we regularly inform you about our work with young people in New York City. I hope you will follow us on one or more of these social media channels.

As always, thank you for making PAL the best friend a kid can have.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

Summer Jobs for PAL Teens

Most of us can recall our first summer job and what it meant for us at the time and in ensuing years. I certainly do. A good experience laid the foundation for future success.

At PAL, we are laying the foundation for 1,885 teens, ages 16-24, to pursue their dreams and become productive members of New York City by placing them in meaningful jobs this summer.

In recent decades, young people of color have had fewer opportunities for summer jobs. The challenge is even greater for young people in foster care or those involved in the court system. On the other hand, studies show that high-school students who work while enrolled earn higher wages when they graduate from college.

PAL is a part of the solution by offering meaningful, minimum-wage jobs to young people, including 350 vulnerable youth in foster care and in the juvenile justice system.  

We couldn’t have made this impact without your support, and without critical funding from New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Moreover, our goal to provide sustainable career paths is possible because of our partnering employers who give these young people a chance to prove themselves at their first jobs.

PAL offers teens a variety of opportunities in the business, nonprofit and public sectors. Our 300 partnering employers include the NYPD, Queens District Attorney's Office, Harlem Hospital, 16 Handles yogurt shops, Advocates for Children, YMCA of Greater New York, Modell’s and ASA College.

Our program staff coach teens to strengthen their job skills and build their career networks. PAL teen Jeneisa got her first summer job through us at a local company in Queens. The company was so happy with her job performance that they asked her to stay on after summer to help them finish a few projects.

Jeneisa has returned for her second year as a summer youth employee. She hopes that New Yorkers will continue to support PAL’s summer jobs program. “You make a difference in the lives of young people. It’s not about the money; it’s about the work ethic and the different people you meet that are so important about summer jobs.”

This fall, Jeneisa is going to college to continue her education. Please join me in wishing her and all our PAL teens the best of what they can be.

Learn more about what goes on at PAL in the summer or please share your own PAL summer story with us.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

PAL Summer Opening

This morning the PAL family opened a fire hydrant and, as we have done for many years, we launched the opening of our summer programs, including PAL summer day-camps and PAL PLAYSTREETS.

Today’s celebration served as a showcase for all the amazing activities PAL offers to New York City kids during the summer – from basketball clinics to field trips to new neighborhoods and new adventures.  With the support of our government partners, private funders and individual donors we are proud  to provide a safe place for thousands of kids during the summer.

This opening day was especially important because, in addition to the hundreds of kids with whom we celebrated,  we had the opportunity to say thank you to the hundreds of police officers who volunteer with PAL each year. In addition to the many police officers at the opening, we were honored to have NYPD Police Commissioner and PAL Honorary President James P. O’Neill, Former Manhattan DA and PAL Chairman Robert M. Morgenthau, as well as former NYPD Police Commissioner and PAL Vice Chairman Robert J. McGuire among many other distinguished members of New York City’s public service and business communities.

Police officers were recognized for their contributions to our kids. We have officers who coach and play with our youth, help with the kids’ homework and read with our young people. In these trying times, no matter the activity, it makes a difference in the lives of the kids and of the officers.

Also, we are grateful to volunteers from Foot Locker, Hall Capital Partners and Nike among others who helped us with recreational activities at the opening. A special thanks to CitySightseeing for a magical round-trip for some of our kids from NYCHA’s Polo Grounds on their double-decker bus today. We also thank The Coca-Cola Company for donated bottle water, which was much needed for our thirsty PAL kids and staff. I would also like to thank many corporate teams and community volunteers who will be assisting us at various events throughout the summer. I give a special shout out to the City’s prosecutors’ office, including the Manhattan DA; the Queens DA; the Staten Island DA; the Brooklyn DA; and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, all who have provided resources and volunteers to create wonderful summer experiences for our kids.

Opening Day is just one of many major events we organize for our kids at 22 summer camps and 16 PAL PLAYSTREETS. We will also be having Cultural Day, Carnival Day, Pennant Quest and Sports Day. We will be facilitating basketball clinics, games and tournaments in 16 City parks and playgrounds.

We say thank you to our parents, supporters, corporate volunteers, NYPD officers, and the rest of the law enforcement community who help make for a great PAL summer for all of our kids.

If you would like to learn more about what goes on at PAL in the summer or if you have your own PAL summer story we would love to know.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

PAL Junior Police Jamboree

Dear Friends,

As the school year comes to a close, we at PAL have a number of celebrations in June to acknowledge the hard work of our kids and our partnership with NYPD.

Earlier this month, the winners of the “Police Commissioner for the Day” essay competition - a collaboration between the NYPD and PAL - were announced at a ceremony at Police Headquarters. Over 500 young people took part in this year’s competition, and the ceremony was one of the highlights of the school year. You can read Jenna Firodimondo’s winning essay on PAL’s website.

A few weeks ago, we hosted the annual Junior Police Jamboree for more than 200 PAL youth. The Jamboree celebrates a year of team-building activities and mentoring by NYPD officers. This program harkens back to PAL’s very beginnings. The very first Junior Police Club was created by Officer John Sweeney in 1914. He intuitively knew that kids needed to be a part of the solution to problems in their neighborhoods, and a positive relationship with the police was a good start. Although New York City has changed over the years, we still firmly believe in helping PAL kids participate in strengthening their communities.

Our after-school programs have ended, but many of our PAL kids will continue on at one of our 21 summer camps and 15 PAL PLAYSTREETS. Each year, we choose a topic for the educational component of PAL summer camps. This year the theme is Music from Around the World. Campers at each PAL center will learn about a different music genre and showcase what they have learned at one of our citywide events, including Cultural Day in August.

As always, we are grateful for supporters like you, who sustain our mission to serve youth in many different ways. If you want to know more about how your support helps PAL, please contact PAL through our website or by calling 1-800-PAL-4KID option 3.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

 

 

Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge

Dear Friends,

Like most non-profits, resources at PAL are always a little stretched. With your support we are able to provide great programs, but we do not always have the resources for big-picture strategy planning we would like to do. Recently, however, through our participation in the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, we were able to dig deep into PAL and look at how we might expand one of our signature programs.

Each year Morgan Stanley, a premier global financial services firm, recruits the company’s best minds to work on a ten week pro bono consulting project with a select group of non-profits. PAL was selected to participate in the challenge this year.

PAL is striving to expand and deepen engaging activities for teens. PAL programs such as the In-School Training & Employment Program (In-STEP) offer college preparation, job readiness, and meaningful internships and we aspire for them to be available to more youth. We asked our Morgan Stanley consulting team to come up with a plan to thoughtfully expand the In-STEP program in the next three years.

The team from Morgan Stanley – David Parsons, Managing Director and team advisor, along with Donald Thompson, Jack Carroll, Jennifer Ortega and Jillian Howe – interviewed our In-STEP teens and PAL staff as well as analyzed financial and sociological data to develop a comprehensive expansion plan to serve more youth in need. PAL’s desire to serve as many kids as possible was enhanced by the team’s data-driven research, thoughtful analysis and sharp focus on PAL’s mission.

Last month, our Morgan Stanley team presented its research to a panel of peers, non-profit leaders, and Morgan Stanley executives. They recommended that we deepen PAL In-STEP’s footprint in the Bronx. The need is great citywide but particularly dire in the Bronx, which has the highest number of high-school dropouts in the city and the majority are people of color.

The Morgan Stanley-PAL team was placed second in the competition, an outstanding accomplishment given the highly talented Morgan Stanley colleagues who participated. PAL will receive a $5,000 grant towards implementation of the team’s recommendations. We congratulate our team for performing so well, and we applaud them for their contribution to improving the lives of New York City’s youth.

Thanks to David, Donald, Jack, Jennifer, Jillian and supporters like you, we will always ensure that PAL is where our youth can become the best they can be. Thank you.

Sincerely,
 
Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director

Celebrating PAL Month

Dear Friends,

As longtime supporters know, PAL is over 100 years old. What you may not know is that since 1950, May is PAL Month. In 1993, when PAL was expanding to serve in neighborhoods torn by drugs and violence, longtime PAL Chairman and former District Attorney of New York Robert M. Morgenthau said to the New York Times: “…what’s important here is [PAL’s] attempt to show thousands of children that the city cares.”

In 2017, we are not only caring for our youth but also thriving in our efforts to offer the best in sports, arts and academics to young people in New York City – all thanks to supporters like you.

One such example is our annual Robert J. McGuire Scholarship Program, generously supported by our true pal and former PAL kid, Fred Wilpon. Earlier this month, we hosted a dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of twelve high-school seniors who are college bound this fall. It was so heartening to hear them give credit to their PAL peers and staff for helping them pursue their dream to attend college. Some of our young people have to overcome hardships that are hard to fathom, but here they were on the podium reflecting on their dream careers. Some of the scholarship winners this year, like in years past, have been with PAL since they were six years old. As they matured, these young people return to give back as volunteers and summer youth employees.

The McGuire Scholarship dinner is one of my favorite events of the year. It is also the favorite of Elinor King, PAL’s archivist and co-administrator of the scholarship program. While we strive to give a better future to PAL kids, Mrs. King diligently documents our efforts as well as uncovers evidence of the amazing work that PAL has done in the past. From times of economic hardship and high crime to current low crime conditions, PAL continues to provide services to underserved kids in New York City. 

One of Ms. King’s favorite activities is uncovering little known features of PAL’s history. Lafayette College archives provided a list of PAL Centers since the thirties and which were named after police officers killed in the line of duty. We still have three - Edward Byrne CenterWilliam J. Duncan Center and Webster-Giannone Center. “I appreciate this opportunity to record PAL’s history. It is a privilege to document NYPD officers, elected officials, and men and women at PAL who have made New York City a better place for kids today.”

Thanks to PAL staff like Ms. King and supporters like you, we will always ensure that PAL is a place for our youth to learn, grow, and thrive. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

STEM at PAL

Dear Friends,

Last week our young people were out of school and in safe hands at PAL, enjoying a wide variety of activities. This included Showstoppers, a citywide performing arts event which showcases the best of PAL’s dancers, cheerleaders and steppers; and the Raphell Memorial Classic, a fun and competitive basketball tournament for PAL girls.

While we ensure that PAL kids are engaged in sports and arts, no matter their skill level, we also equip our young people with academic skills that supplement and enhance what they learn in school. For the past few months, PAL kids have been learning about various ecosystems and finding solutions which will promote the earth’s long-term wellbeing. Our youth learned to engage in key science practices, such as conducting investigations, analyzing data, and communicating scientific information to the general public.

PAL is inspiring young people to think about and pursue careers in STEM fields by easing the roadblocks faced by underserved youth, especially children of color and girls, who face a lack of resources and role models. Our programs are free thanks to our many dedicated supporters and volunteers, making sure our STEM programs are accessible to all PAL kids.

Our kids will have a chance to demonstrate what they have learned during PAL after-school programming at the annual PAL Science Fair next month. The theme for the 2017 PAL Science Fair is Creating a Better Tomorrow. PAL kids at all 22 centers are working on projects such as decomposition, conservation, recycling, sustainability, and agriculture. For example, young people at PAL Petrides Center in Staten Island will present on how technology can help grow crops that are eco-friendly and sustainable.

This colorful and energetic event attracts a host of prominent New Yorkers and media representatives. The visitors quiz the participants about their findings, prompting the young people to engage in critical thinking and teamwork to respond to the queries. This highlights our young people’s problem solving and communication gifts - skills needed in today’s economy.

None of this would be possible without the generosity of our individual donors and institutional funders. We thank you for supporting PAL’s mission and being “the best friend a kid can have.”

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

 

PAL Girl Talk

Dear Friends,

It has been a year since I began updating you about the diversity of programs at PAL, and I have enjoyed the opportunity. Today, I would like to tell you about an exciting and empowering program - PAL Girl Talk.

Offered in seven after-school centers, PAL launched Girl Talk with the aim of giving middle-school girls a safe space to share and learn together. As young women of color, many from difficult family circumstances, participants learn to navigate socio-emotional issues such as body image, self-esteem, relationships, as well as anxieties about their future. We also expose these young women to career readiness activities, leadership skills and civic engagement opportunities. Girl Talk helps young women negotiate the odd time of life when one is no longer a child but not quite an adult yet.

Girl Talk’s success is enhanced by the involvement of female professionals – Women of Inspiration – who serve as guest speakers, sharing their life experiences and engaging in community service with our young women. Women of Inspiration commit their time to facilitate workshops, and many continue to mentor our young women and form strong bonds. To sign up as a Woman of Inspiration, please visit our Volunteer page. 

Our Women of Inspiration come from diverse backgrounds. We have attorneys, financiers, publicists and even yoga teachers. For the women, Girl Talk is where they can give back to the community and share their hard-won wisdom on being a woman in a modern workplace. They offer insights on balancing family and work, offer their stories of grit and perseverance while emerging from similar backgrounds and hardships that our PAL participants relate to. Our PAL young women feel empowered to overcome their present struggles, motivated by our Women of Inspiration.

PAL Girl Talk is presently supported by AIG, Girl Talk’s founding corporate partner. Founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. A main feature of AIG’s support is the annual Girl Talk retreat – a culminating event for the nine-month mentoring program for the 75 participants.

At the Girl Talk retreat, which takes place away from the city, our girls share what they have learned during the school year, commit themselves to building a positive self-image and thank the mentors who nurtured them.

Girl Talk alums have come back to intern at PAL and mentor current Girl Talk participants – which speaks volumes on the impact of this program.

We thank you and our friends at AIG for supporting a vibrant program like PAL Girl Talk.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

Kids Say Why PAL is Important to Them

Dear Friends,

I hope the New Year is going well for you. At PAL, our kids have dived into an array of exciting after-school activities. To give you just a small sample – they are learning about rainforests as well as creating their own comic strip featuring rainforest animals.

One of our commitments for this year was to launch a series of videos that give voice to PAL kids from all walks of life – telling us why PAL is important to them. Thanks to the generosity of Eugene M. Lang Foundation, we were able to take on this endeavor and produce a series of videos featuring PAL kids, staff and NYPD officers.

We would like to share a video with you featuring NYPD Officer and former PAL kid Lorraine Marin – click this YouTube link.  I hope that this video will inform and inspire you just as it motivates us to do our best for New York City’s kids every day.   

We also want to thank Facebook and BBDO New York for promoting the videos on Facebook last month. We received an incredible response – people recalled their time at PAL with anecdotes of officers and staff who had an impact on their lives.

We would like to hear your PAL story! Share it with us today

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

 

New Coney Island Center

Dear Friends,

As PAL’s Executive Director, I am delighted to share wonderful news of our great strides in serving children and families. As we come to the end of 2016, I am happy to announce that we have a newly constructed building scheduled to open in 2017, welcoming 135 bright young minds in Coney Island.

Our La Puerta Abierta Center in Coney Island for preschoolers was among the many buildings damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Despite our best efforts, we were forced to close down our center. Hard work and good fortune has turned the tide. With private and government support, our center will now be housed in a newly constructed facility which will include seven classrooms and a playground.

Our new Coney Island Center will help us to continue the tradition, that no matter what, our children will always have a safe place to go, learn and be inspired. This is truly the result of work and support of our dedicated staff, the NYPD, community members and friends like you. Thank you.

Happy and safe Holidays!

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

PAL Thanks NYPD

Dear Friends,

Since our inception, the Police Athletic League has shared a special relationship with the NYPD. For more than a century, police officers have worked closely with our youth, serving as role models, mentors, and positive influences. Now, as community policing becomes a larger part of the public conversation, it is important to recognize the law enforcement community, not only for their bravery in protecting New York City citizens, but for all that they do for PAL kids.

The PAL Cops and Kids Sports program bridges the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In this program, NYPD officers volunteer their time to serve as teammates, mentors, and role models to PAL kids. All year round, officers develop meaningful relationships with our kids while playing basketball, flag football, baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer. Positive interactions like these keep our kids on the right track and strengthen the community as a whole.

The Junior Police Club, one of PAL’s oldest traditions, is open to youth at our after-school centers. Junior Police Club members connect with the NYPD throughout the year through local precinct visits, crime prevention workshops, and while working together on community service projects. They end the year with a graduation ceremony at the Police Academy.

The relationships that our kids develop with police officers go even deeper than having fun in organized programs. Last Mother’s Day, our kids at Duncan Center celebrated “Female Superheroes Day” by creating and sharing artwork that paid tribute to their female role models. Some children shared pictures of well-known celebrities, while others of their family members. However, I was surprised and delighted when I saw so many children share drawings of Sgt. Liza Aviles, who frequently stops by the Duncan center to play games with the kids and help with their homework.

We appreciate the support of the NYPD, and are especially grateful for the leadership of PAL’s honorary president, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill; and Chief of Community Affairs Bureau Joanne Jaffe. Their leadership ensures that PAL’s partnership with NYPD officers thrives throughout the year.

To the NYPD and all members of law enforcement– we thank you for your service, and are grateful to have such a supportive partner in our mission to be “the best friend a kid can have.”

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

P.S. We are celebrating #GivingPALPride on Tuesday, November 29th, also known as “Giving Tuesday.” We hope that you will join us on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages to celebrate PAL and share your PAL story.

PAL Joins Forces with No Bully

Dear Friends,

As you may know, October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Nearly one in five public high-school students has been subjected to bullying, according to the New York City Department of Health. We at PAL are strongly committed to an environment free of any bullying. In order to be better equipped to prevent bullying in any form, we have partnered with No Bully, a nonprofit organization which trains school-based staff to stop bullying and cyberbullying.

Earlier this month, PAL staff participated in three workshops conducted by No Bully. By early next year, we expect to have 50 PAL staff members specially trained to resolve any bullying incident that our children may confront.  

We are extremely grateful to our major donor, cybersecurity expert Adam Levin, along with Tickle Water and IDT911 for sponsoring our partnership with No Bully. We are excited to implement this year-long program and we will continue to update you on our efforts.

In other news at PAL, I want to mention that on October 20th PAL will once again celebrate the national event, Lights On Afterschool, to highlight the importance of thriving after-school programs across this country. Some of PAL after-school programs will host open houses for community members and parents to commemorate this day.

We thank you for supporting PAL’s mission. Thanks to you, our PAL after-school youth thrive all year round.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

Thank You for a Great Summer

Dear Friends,

This summer has been one of the best on record for PAL. Thanks to the generous support of people like you, thousands of PAL kids had the opportunity to attend summer day camps, drop in on PAL PLAYSTREETS, stay academically engaged, and make lasting friendships with peers and adult mentors.

We organized 41 PAL PLAYSTREETS throughout New York City, serving more than 5,000 kids. Our free PAL summer camps served about 2,000 campers, ages 6-13 years old. Our kids not only played sports and practiced academic skills but also went on field trips to educational and recreational sites such as the Bronx Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, Legoland Exploration Center and Rye Playland.

Our special events included Sports Day, Pennant Race, Carnival Day and we concluded PAL’s summer by bringing our campers together at the Bill Rainey Park in the Bronx for PAL Cultural Day. This year’s theme was Indigenous Peoples of the World. It was wonderful to see PAL kids’ presentations on cultures as varied as the Chakma people in Bangladesh to the Bororo people in Brazil.

We are also indebted to the 200 corporate volunteers who gave their time during the summer. We are especially grateful to AIG, Fluent, GAP, Goldman Sachs, Hall Capital Partners LLC, Kepler Group, Morgan Stanley, Nike as well as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for their exceptional leadership.

Starting this month, our PAL kids and staff are ready for another year of learning. Many of our summertime participants will continue to build on their summer friendships and activities in our afterschool program.  

This year’s PAL afterschool curriculum focuses on social-emotional learning and extended school-day learning through fun hands-on activities. Of course, their favorite STEM experiments, art projects, and health and wellness activities will be accounted for as well. PAL’s afterschool program will serve nearly 5,300 students in elementary and middle school this year.

As always, we are grateful to all our supporters for making PAL’s programs possible.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

 

PAL Radio Rookies Program

Dear Friends,

PAL remains committed to continuing successful traditions like PAL PLAYSTREETS and the Junior Police Club, but we know how important it is to find new and engaging ways to educate and inspire New York City’s kids.

One of the most exciting new programs we offer is the PAL Radio Rookies Program. In partnership with WNYC, PAL middle schoolers in all five boroughs created their own unique podcast. The program gives kids a special opportunity to use professional recording equipment, channel their creativity and passion, and share their points of view in these fun and entertaining radio broadcasts.

Thanks to the support of the Hive NYC Learning Network, a city-wide learning laboratory, and the generosity of the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund of The New York Community Trust, we are able to develop innovative programs like this one to give kids the chance to discover new interests and develop essential skills.

Every week, a new episode of the podcast will be available on our website and on iTunes, and will give you an inside look at life from a PAL kid’s perspective.

Treat yourself, and take a listen to a PAL kid’s podcast. It’s yet another example of how talented our kids are, and how proud we are to offer them new, exciting experiences.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

Celebrating PAL PLAYSTREETS

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, PAL Playstreets opened once again. For over a century, our signature program has been bringing city summer camps directly to children in communities all over the City. The program continues to be a favorite activity for our kids and their families, providing sports, fitness, and arts learning experiences for thousands of boys and girls each summer. This year, 41 Playstreets are up and running in all five boroughs.

It all started in 1914, when Police Commissioner Arthur Woods, concerned for the poor children who lived in congested tenements, converted vacant lots and whole city blocks into playgrounds for urban youth.  This new and radical program was heavily covered by the media at the time, including The New York Times: “Children must play, and children, if they live in cities, must play in the streets.”

Today, Playstreets benefit our kids and their neighborhoods. In a recent poll, 100% of community members surveyed stated that PAL Playstreets make their communities safer.  We are proud to offer safe play spaces, constructive programs, and meaningful learning experiences for our kids and of the significant improvements that we make in the community.

Most importantly, Playstreets and other PAL programs show our young people that the community truly cares about them. Thank you for continuing this tradition. None of it would be possible without your support.

With thanks,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL


Heading into Summer with PAL

Dear Friends,

The school year is coming to a close, and while the kids may be celebrating the end of homework, they’ll surely miss coming to PAL at the end of every school day. As one final celebration, our centers will hold showcases of all their favorite activities and give the kids one last chance to enjoy the after-school PAL programs they love. They will also participate in our year-end special events like the Police Commissioner for a Day awards ceremony and activities, and the Junior Police Jamboree.

But, of course, the end of the school year doesn’t mean the end of PAL fun - as afterschool is winding down, our summer programs are ramping up!

PAL is a best friend to nearly 9000 children during the summer months. Thousands of kids drop into Playstreets, play in intramural sports leagues, and attend our summer camps. And this year, with the help of our generous partners and donors, we offer free day camp at all of our Summer Camp Centers.

While our kids are busy playing games and going on field trips, they will also be soaking in the cultures of “Indigenous Peoples of the World” – this year’s summer day camp theme.  The rich academic and cultural themes that are a part of PAL’s summer fun help maintain the campers’ reading and math skills during the summer, making them well equipped for their return to school in September.

We could not be more excited to start our summer programs. From carnivals and sports days, to summer youth employment and cultural celebrations, it is your support that keeps PAL going all year round.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

P.S. Did you spend your childhood summers at PAL? We’d love to hear your summer PAL story if you’re willing to share. Please take our survey or reply to this email with your contact information and a short story of your time at PAL. If you want to support PAL’s summer camp, click here.


Celebrating PAL Month

Dear Friends,

May has always been an exciting month throughout PAL’s history.

In 1950, Mayor William O’Dwyer issued the first proclamation designating May as “PAL Month” and urged the public to support the work done by the Police Athletic League.  

This year, PAL is looking forward to another eventful May:  

  • At the Annual Science Fair at the William J. Duncan Center we will celebrate the students’ new knowledge and research skills as we admire their amazing STEM projects. Students will pose complex questions, form well-reasoned hypotheses, carefully lay out the procedures for their experiments, and present their results. Last year, more than 100 students explored the engineering behind things like airplanes and roller coasters. This year we expect close to 200 participants.
  • The Poetry Jam at Affirmation Arts Gallery, in partnership with Poet’s House, will give our contest winning poets the chance to work with professionals writers and present their poems on stage. Out of hundreds of submissions from 1st-8th grade students, 27 contest winners will perform their work at the event.
  • At The Robert J. McGuire Scholarship Dinner we will wish our In-Step and Youth Link high school seniors luck on the journey ahead, and award essential scholarships to finance the cost of attending college. Sixteen college-bound students were selected to win the award. Special thanks to Fred Wilpon, one of PAL’s greatest friends.

In addition to all of our special events, our after-school participants will continue to learn about the civil rights movement, the final module of their year-long educational program. We’ll make sure that the kids stay on track with homework help, provide activities that complement and enhance school curriculum, and offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Our teens will remain busy preparing for college and for summer jobs.

Meanwhile, as spring turns to summer, our staff prepares for Summer Day Camps, the opening of Playstreets, the Summer Youth Employment Program, and our summer sports and recreation programs. May might be the official “PAL Month” but the children and families that we serve can count on us every month to be “the best friend a kid can have.”

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL

P.S. Do you have a PAL story that you’re willing to share? If so, please send it to me by replying to this email. Please be sure to include your contact information.


Preparing for College with PAL

Dear Friends,

When people think of the Police Athletic League, their minds usually jump to youth sports and after-school programs. But I want you to know about all of the incredible work PAL does in preparing young people for college.

With financial support from the Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, this school year PAL took over 200 high school students on college campus visits.

Our teens had the chance to visit not only local New York City colleges and universities, but they ventured to Washington D.C. to visit Georgetown University and Howard University, to Baltimore to see Coppin State University. At PAL, we are committed to showing all students, from all walks of life, the great things that they are capable of achieving. We hope to do another round of college tours in the spring should funding be available.

It is essential not only to show these young people what they can do, but to provide the necessary means to realize their potential. Last year, three outstanding PAL students who participated in our college readiness program were awarded the Robert J. McGuire College Scholarship to attend St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights. Many competed for this selective scholarship, but only a handful of high school students city-wide were chosen.

The three former PAL Kids achieved the highest GPAs of all the McGuire Scholarship recipients. Their incredible achievement shows the great potential of the kids we work with, and validates the outstanding service PAL can provide, to ensure that all of our students reach their full potential.

Seeing these children grow into young adults, and helping them on the path to success, is one of the best parts of my job.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of our individual donors and institutional funders. We are grateful to all those who donate directly and attend our events for your continued support of the Police Athletic League. I look forward to updating you on all of our teens’ progress in the coming months.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL