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 Center, William 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.
Frederick J. Watts