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


Saluting the Garden of Dreams Foundation

Dear Friends,

I am excited to provide you periodic updates on the myriad of ways that PAL works to be “the best friend a kid can have.” I felt a great way to kick off the series would be to tell you about PAL’s relationship with Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams Foundation, one of our staunchest supporters.

For the past three years, the Garden of Dreams Foundation has helped PAL to provide one-of-a-kind experiences for our kids. They have donated thousands of tickets to sporting events, concerts, and film screenings, and organized dozens of amazing events for our kids.

This year, The Garden of Dreams has already provided two unique opportunities for PAL kids to meet the New York Rangers. The Power Players street hockey clinic brought professional coaches to our Bronx centers to teach kids the ins and outs of their favorite sport. The clinic culminated in January’s Power Players tournament – a round robin competition hosted by PAL against other community organizations.  Special guests from the NY Rangers JT Miller and Viktor Stalberg joined in the fun at Harlem Center to make the event an extra special opportunity for our kids.  In addition, PAL kids had the chance to skate with the Rangers at Rockefeller Center’s Ice Rink.

Along with providing these amazing opportunities and events, the Garden of Dreams Foundation has chosen PAL to participate in the Garden of Dreams Prom – a magical night that gives teens ages 14- 18 a once in a lifetime opportunity to give back to the community. This year, PAL teens will be paired with teens from wish organizations and hospitals who have bravely battled serious medical issues. At this “Red Carpet Event,” the Garden of Dreams will provide hair, makeup, tuxedos and prom dresses, and a special experience for two sets of deserving teens.

With partners like the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and all those who support PAL - we are able to enrich the lives of kids throughout the City.  We are grateful for the support.

With thanks,

 

Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL