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.”
Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL