PAL Summer Celebration

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, we officially launched our summer programs with the traditional opening of the fire hydrant at PAL Harlem Center. It never gets old to see our kids playfully running away from the gushing water!

We were honored to have NYPD's First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, and PAL board member Daniel Rose attending the celebration along with many NYPD officers and prominent members of New York City.

We are also celebrating a wonderful milestone in July - Hon. Morgenthau is celebrating his 100th birthday later this month. It is heartwarming and humbling to note that Hon. Morgenthau served on PAL’s board for 57 of those 100 years. I have worked for him for 31 years at the New York District Attorney’s Office and it always inspires me to see him work with dedication and passion for all young people at PAL and New York City.

My thanks to supporters like you and major funders such as the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for supporting our summer day camps and Summer Youth Employment Program as well as the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, MetLife Foundation and May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. for funding PAL PLAYSTREETS. I would also like to thank law enforcement agencies, corporate teams and community volunteers who will be assisting us throughout the summer. We are grateful for your support.

We will keep thousands of children and teens busy with fun and engaging activities in 19 summer day camps and 15 PAL PLAYSTREETS. If you would like to learn more about what goes on at PAL this summer, please visit our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates.

We thank you for supporting PAL’s mission and we look forward to your continued commitment.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

Celebrating PAL youth with NYPD

Dear Friends,

The school year is coming to a close and our young people at PAL have much to celebrate at their centers and with the NYPD.

Today, at Police Headquarters, we are celebrating the winners of the “Police Commissioner for the Day” essay competition - a collaboration between the NYPD and PAL. We received more than 400 essays from high school youth who shared their ideas on resolving a critical issue in their neighborhood.

I am proud to announce that a PAL teen from our New South Bronx Center – Beyonce Dennis – is the Police Commissioner for the Day! As she takes over the NYPD today, we know we are in good hands.

Beyonce is an accomplished young person heading to college this year. She also received one of the Robert J. McGuire College Scholarships from PAL last month.

Later this week, we host the annual Junior Police Jamboree for more than 300 PAL youth. The Jamboree celebrates a year of team-building activities and mentoring by NYPD officers. Both PAL Junior Police Club and PAL PLAYSTREETS were established in 1914 – PAL’s founding year.

I am grateful to work with NYPD and supporters like you who are giving our young people a chance to dream big. We all are working together to leave the future of New York City in good hands. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

Mentoring during PAL month

Dear Friends,

As longtime supporters know, we traditionally celebrate May as PAL Month. One of my favorite events which takes place in May is the annual Robert J. McGuire Scholarship dinner. Generously supported by former PAL kid Fred Wilpon, this scholarship program attracts teens from our programs throughout the city.

The scholarships assist children seeking to further their education, and are a way to acknowledge our teens’ work to achieve their goals despite personal hardships. It is also wonderful to see our young people express gratitude to their mentors on PAL staff.

This year, we have 11 scholarships winners who are on their way to achieving big dreams – please join me in wishing them good luck as they step into emerging adulthood.

Speaking of big dreams, I am happy to announce that we launched a pilot mentoring program for our young men in middle school.  Just as PAL Girl Talk – which gives middle-school girls a safe space to learn together from guest speakers – we hope that the mentoring program for middle-school boys will be as inspirational for our young people and mentors. If you would like to learn more about the program or support this initiative, please let us know.

Supporters like you are giving our young people a chance to fulfill their aspirations. It is a privilege to ensure that PAL is a place for our youth to learn, grow, and thrive. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

 

PAL kids spring forward

Dear Friends,

In about two weeks our children will spend their spring break at PAL holiday camps throughout New York City. Our young people will be busy - putting together science projects, performing their best dance moves, and going on inspirational field trips throughout the week!

One such inspiring trip will be to the Times Square law offices of Proskauer Rose LLP by PAL Girl Talk participants. Our young women will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with the firm’s women with diverse backgrounds and careers in law, finance, IT and marketing.

Also on that week’s schedule is the PAL Showstoppers competition - a citywide event where our young people display pride in their PAL center and community through dance and step. I enjoy this enthusiastic celebration each year because it shows not only the skill and energy of our children, but how much they cherish their time spent at PAL.

In addition, our young people will spend considerable time on their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiments that they will demonstrate at the annual PAL Science Fair. I look forward to sharing with you next month, stories of the winners.  

This year, the PAL Science Fair theme is “Kid Tested, Science Approved.” Our young people have been given the autonomy to identify a particular issue, and then decide how to resolve that issue. Once again, it is interesting to see the project ideas that they want to experiment with – topics as wide-ranging as social behaviors, hovercrafts and nutrition – will be explored at the PAL Science Fair.

Our young people will also engage in problem solving and teamwork to address questions from the visitors, including prominent New Yorkers and the media.

I want to take the opportunity to thank our corporate partner Con Edison for supporting STEM initiatives at PAL for more than a decade.

At PAL, we are committed to bringing out the best in our young people. Public and private partners as well as individual supporters like you make this possible. I thank you for your dedication to PAL youth.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

P.S. Our PAL Contemporaries are hosting the annual Spring Social on Thursday, May 9th. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/PALSpringSocial

PAL Tournament of Champions

Dear Friends,

Last month, we hosted our first “Holiday Camp” for PAL afterschool youth on their winter break. In this camp, PAL provides all-day recreational and learning activities for children while they are off from school. Like in the years past, this included an opportunity for our campers from all five boroughs to come together for friendly intramural competitions at the annual PAL Tournament of Champions at Edward Byrne Center in Queens.

This competitive event has something fun for every one of our children – from Connect Four for the Kindergarteners to STEM challenges for our middle-school youth. Of course, we also organized an intramural basketball tournament – for the best of the best middle-school players at PAL! You can catch a glimpse of all this fun on our Facebook page.

This year’s PAL Tournament of Champions was also notable for another reason. Our centers came together to celebrate a dedicated mentor at PAL, NYPD Officer Lamont Anderson. Officer Anderson is retiring this month and we wanted to thank him for mentoring and inspiring hundreds of PAL children and teens in Queens for the past 15 years. He embodies the spirit and enthusiasm that is at the core of PAL’s relationship with the NYPD. Thank you Officer Anderson for your service to PAL youth and New York City.

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.”

And as always, we thank you for caring about PAL’s mission. Your support is what keeps PAL youth thriving all year round.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

Celebrating heritage and love at PAL

Dear Friends,

In February we have much to celebrate – from Black History Month to the Lunar New Year, and, of course, Valentine’s Day this week.

In the spirit of celebrations, my favorite experience is to see the expressions of pure joy on our pre-K children - laughing and learning through the arts. Thanks to funding from the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, our Early Childhood Education program serves more than 600 girls and boys, ages 2-5, in seven centers in Brooklyn and Queens.

To ensure that 100% of our pre-K children are ready for Kindergarten, we offer a curriculum that is not only steeped in literacy activities, but also infused with music, dance and even yoga. Our teachers bring in different instruments every day – from drums to guitars – and our children have a grand time singing along and dancing. What they don’t realize is that these songs are infused with the center’s “Word of the Month” that our children are learning to incorporate in their everyday vocabulary. This is in addition to classroom lessons and reading books that we recommend to their families.

Last year, we introduced yoga lessons among PAL’s youngest. While our kids are having fun stretching and balancing, they are also learning the names of different body parts. Yoga also helps our children to improve their gross motor skills and learn mindfulness.

At the other end of the PAL spectrum, our teens are keeping busy this month as well. To celebrate Black History Month, about 70 PAL teens and staff are visiting SUNY Purchase College to watch the Purchase Symphony and Jazz Orchestra Concert that will include an excerpt of William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony.

This week, we are also celebrating the culmination of the songwriting project with our program partner, Decoda, where 12 NYPD officers and 12 PAL teens worked together to create original songs. Like last year, the project will culminate with the officers and PAL teens performing their songs at Carnegie Hall. This program – like all others - is possible because of support like yours. As our thanks, we are offering free tickets for the preview performance at PAL Harlem Center on Thursday, February 14th. Please email April Okpwae at AOkpwae@palnyc.org for the free tickets to this amazing event.

As I mentioned last month, 2019 is looking very promising for our young people. We thank you for your generosity – you help make this all possible.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

The New Year at PAL

It’s only two weeks into January and PAL’s young people already have a great deal to look forward to this year. At our afterschool programs, PAL kids are getting ready to explore the evolution of technology. We certainly know that technology is more than just a tool – it is a cultural phenomenon. This year, PAL staff will encourage our young people to think critically on how society and technology influence each other. 

We are also launching two popular programs for more than 500 young people across five boroughs – PAL Cops and Kids basketball for teens and Junior Knicks basketball program for younger children. These two programs depend heavily on our NYPD volunteers. We appreciate all NYPD officers who inspire our young people as positive role models and mentors through our sports and educational programs.

Last month, I mentioned that PAL teens kicked off the holiday season performing at the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. Our PAL teens ended 2018 on a high note with surprise pop-up performances at TD Bank locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I saw our teens perform popular Christmas carols, astonishing customers and passersby, and delighting the employees. We are grateful to TD Bank for hosting PAL teens – it was a great opportunity to highlight the potential of these young people. 

As you can see, the New Year is looking very promising for our young people. We thank you for making all this good work happen. We wish you a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

PAL Celebrates the Holidays

Dear Friends,

This year, PAL kicked off the holiday season on the national stage! We created the PAL Cops & Kids Chorus, where high-school students and police officers work together on musical projects, including composing and performing their music. The chorus was selected to perform on live television on November 28th at the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. If you missed the live event on NBC, we have a clip on PAL YouTube. We have many people to thank for this opportunity, including the NYPD, NBC and PAL Board member Tony Danza. This is a night that we will remember a long time.

Last weekend we also held one of my favorite events - the PAL Holiday Party at our recently renovated Harlem Center. Thanks to hosts John and Margo Catsimatidis, and generous donors like you, we transformed the center into a winter wonderland for 400 PAL youth from all five boroughs. Kids and adults smiled ear to ear all day long on this fun-filled day full of warmth and good cheer. The children played games, made art, and cheered on performances by other PAL kids. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and supporters, every child received a gift from Mr. Santa and Mrs. Claus!

This event was made possible by the hard work of PAL staff, NYPD officers, and dozens of volunteers from our friends such as AIG, Con Edison, Insight Investment, FBI Community Outreach, New York City Law Department, and our holiday party donors. Thank you.

Thank you for your support to PAL youth all year round. The PAL family wishes you and your family Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

Thank you

Dear Friends,

Having been born on Thanksgiving Day many (many) years ago, I have a soft spot for the spirit of generosity and giving during this season. I am reminded that it takes many committed New Yorkers to mentor and inspire young people every day.

Since our founding, PAL 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 and mentors. Amid the positive spotlight on NYPD’s role in keeping New York City residents safe, we also want to acknowledge the police officers’ important role in the lives of PAL youth.

We are especially grateful for the leadership of PAL’s honorary president Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, and Chief of Community Affairs Bureau Nilda Hofmann. Their leadership ensures that PAL’s partnership with NYPD officers thrives throughout the year. If you want to know more, our Twitter gives regular updates on NYPD’s partnership with PAL.

We also want to thank our supporters - public agencies, institutional funders and individuals like you – you make PAL’s mission possible. This year, we launched PAL Contemporaries for early and mid-career New Yorkers to get more involved with PAL. Within a few months, the PAL Contemporaries have become very engaged. For example, this week, PAL Contemporaries and PAL kids will create Thanksgiving cards together at our Duncan Center. These cards will be distributed to the elderly in a nursing home. You can learn more about PAL Contemporaries by calling 212-477-9450 ext. 355.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all our young people for making PAL their home away from home. Your trust in us and your dedication to be the best you can be is what inspires us every day. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

What’s New at PAL?

Dear Friends,

We are about a month into the school year for PAL’s children and teens – and it already feels as if our youth are learning and accomplishing a great deal at their PAL afterschool home.

This year, our afterschool youth are exploring fairy tales and folk tales from around the world. I think reading such stories filled with imagination and wonder is a great way to understand different cultures and their beliefs.

In addition, our children are already composing poems for the citywide competition, PAL Poetry Jam. As many of you know, we collect the best of these poems for an anthology that we share with supporters like you.

We have also launched two exciting initiatives for about 100 PAL teens. One of them is the “PAL Youth Professionals” – a leadership development program where volunteer executives and entrepreneurs will offer first-hand practice on much-needed professional skills like public speaking and time management.

Our second initiative – Teen Girl Tuesdays – is a safe space for young women to explore topics like self-image and healthy relationships. If you would like to volunteer for these new programs, contact April Okpwae at AOkpwae@palnyc.org.

We organized pilot projects for these two initiatives at our Wynn Center in Brooklyn this past summer, and their success informed us that our teens need a second home to explore and achieve their best selves. We thank you for playing a big part in ensuring that PAL is a young person’s home away from home to fearlessly learn and thrive.

Sincerely,

 Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

P.S. – On Sunday, November 11th, we are hosting our 4th annual 5K Run/Walk at Riverside Park. I hope you and your friends and family can join us to support PAL. It’s easy – just sign up at https://pal5k.greatfeats.com/. I look forward to seeing you there. Thank you.

Garden of Dreams Foundation Make Dreams Come True

Dear Friends,

Thank you for supporting another successful summer at PAL! More than 4,000 young people had a safe place at PAL to play, learn and thrive by participating in our summer camps, PAL PLAYSTREETS and Summer Youth Employment Program.

Now that our young people are back to school, PAL is continuing to support their personal growth through our afterschool and teen programs, and various initiatives such as PAL Cops & Kids Sports, and PAL Girl Talk.

Also, over the last year the Garden of Dreams Foundation (GDF) has undertaken two major capital projects with us. They helped us renovate the second floor of PAL Duncan Center, including the computer room, resources room, and the arts and craft room. At the PAL Harlem Center, they took on the task of renovating the first floor of the building. The building was built in 1998 and sees a great deal of activity each year. In coordination with PAL staff, GDF helped us renovate the entryway, the lobby, the game room and, most importantly, the gym. The gym has been completely redone from floor to ceiling. The Harlem Center will have a state-of-the-art gym with an upgraded performance space and audiovisual equipment.

To date, GDF has invested 1.4 million dollars in improving our facilities. We are grateful for this amazing partnership, which allows us to give PAL children the best environment possible to learn and to grow. We will be celebrating the renovations at Harlem Center on September 20th with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

PAL is now challenged to expand our programming in these two Centers, something I know we can do with your continued support.

To that end, I would like to thank each and every one of you for helping us inspire our young people every day. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram for regular updates on how you help to make a difference.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

PAL Alum and NYPD Officer Making a Difference

Dear Friends,

Rain or shine this summer – we are keeping thousands of children throughout all five boroughs engaged in academics, arts and sports. Whether at our Carnival Day or our Cultural Day – PAL kids are always learning while having fun.

We also connected more than 1,500 teens to much-needed summer jobs. PAL’s Summer Youth Employment Program is possible because of your support and critical funding from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

A lucky few of these summer teens are being mentored by Detective Tanya Duhaney, a 17-year NYPD veteran, at the 113th precinct in Jamaica, Queens.

Det. Duhaney is a textbook example of why PAL’s mission has thrived for over 100 years. Det. Duhaney grew up in Jamaica – in the very precinct she now serves. She is also a former PAL kid, who spent her summers with us thanks to a NYPD youth officer. The officer gave her and other children a ride to the nearest PAL summer camp back when the PAL Edward R. Byrne Center did not exist.

“I think it’s important that we work with PAL,” says Det. Duhaney, who has mentored PAL summer teens for the past ten years. “We not only have fun with the young people, but we inspire them to do something meaningful in New York City.”

If you follow PAL on Twitter, you will see that under Det. Duhaney’s guidance, PAL teens are getting a meaningful summer job experience. They are learning to interact with people from all walks of life, including former First Lady of New York State Matilda Cuomo. Last week, our young people helped NYPD officers organize the National Night out against Crime event at Baisley Pond Park in Queens.

“PAL teens get to see firsthand what it’s like to be a police officer,” says Det. Duhaney. “When they first come in, several kids have negative perceptions of the police from the media or their friends. In a day or two at the precinct, the kids observe the police officers’ professional conduct, often in circumstances where members of the public are agitated. They say: Wow, we never see you guys go through all this.”

Throughout the year, NYPD officers coach and play with our young people, read with our kids and inspire teens to become the best they can be. PAL alum and Detective Tanya Duhaney is another exemplary role model for PAL youth. Thank you for making a difference.

This has been another great summer at PAL and we owe a special thanks to our public funders and, of course, each of you for your support.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

A Great Summer for PAL Youth

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we officially launched our summer programs with the traditional opening of the fire hydrant at PAL Harlem Center. You can imagine the squeals of delight as our kids, staff and NYPD officers playfully ran away from the gushing cool water!

We were honored to have Former Manhattan DA and PAL Chairman Robert M. Morgenthau at the summer opening along with a number of police officers and public officials. Our kids and staff also wished Honorable Morgenthau a very happy 99th birthday.

Like in the years past, PAL children and teens are engaging in fun and productive activities while they are on a summer break from school. Our 18 summer day camps, 15 PAL PLAYSTREETS and Summer Youth Employment Program are thriving places for young people to learn and grow in the coming weeks.

I especially want to thank supporters like you and major funders such as the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for supporting our summer day camps and Summer Youth Employment Program as well as the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, MetLife Foundation and May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. for funding PAL PLAYSTREETS. I would also like to thank many law enforcement agencies, corporate teams and community volunteers who will be assisting us at various events throughout the summer. You make it all possible.

To learn more about what goes on at PAL in the summer, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

PAL Celebrates Afterschool

Dear Friends,

June is an exciting month at PAL – packed with events.

On June 1st, budding poets from our after-school programs recited their poems before their families, PAL staff, and special guests at the annual PAL Poetry Jam. It is encouraging to hear them use language so skillfully to speak of their life experiences and the beauty that they see in everyday moments. We have published an anthology of selected poems and artwork by our young people. If you would like a copy, please email us at advancement@palnyc.org. We are grateful to William Talbott Hillman Foundation for their ongoing support for PAL Poetry Jam.

Last weekend, we hosted the PAL Girl Talk retreat at St John’s University with about 50 middle-school girls. PAL Girl Talk gives young women a safe space to learn about general life skills and career opportunities. The program also promotes self-esteem and positive relationships. We thank our guest speakers for sharing their life experiences and advice with our young people at the retreat and throughout the school year. I especially thank AIG for their unstinting support as the founding corporate partner. AIG employees also helped us pack swag bags for the young women attending the retreat.

This week, more than 150 PAL Junior Police Club members will demonstrate leadership skills, discipline and team building exercises that they learned from NYPD officers at the Junior Police Jamboree.

We recently announced the winners of the “Police Commissioner for the Day” essay competition - a collaboration between the NYPD and PAL. We received 560 submissions from young people citywide who shared their ideas on implementing programs as it relates to neighborhood policing. Congratulations to Kayla Danielle Parker from Brooklyn for her winning essay.

With your support, we ensure that our young people at PAL have numerous ways to stay engaged in meaningful activities through academics, sports, arts and civic engagement. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director

May is PAL Month

Dear Friends,

Since 1950, we have celebrated the month of May as PAL Month. It is a great time to appreciate our partnership with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies. We are grateful to Chief of Community Affairs Bureau Nilda Hoffman and Assistant Chief Kim Royster for being inspiring role models for our young women and men at PAL.

You may recall that we interviewed Assistant Chief Royster – the highest-ranking African-American woman in the NYPD – for this year’s spring newsletter. Growing up, Royster was inspired by role models who looked like her in positions of authority. She is now committed to being a role model for today’s young women.

A few weeks ago, Royster spoke with PAL Girl Talk participants and offered to personally mentor them. Royster is also planning to speak at the annual PAL Girl Talk retreat in June. PAL Girl Talk gives middle-school girls a safe space to learn together from guest speakers, who share their life experiences about topics such as body image, self-esteem, relationships, and career opportunities.

In addition to our partnership with NYPD, I am proud of the annual Robert J. McGuire Scholarship Program, generously supported by former PAL kid Fred Wilpon. Earlier this week, we hosted a dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of high-school seniors who are college bound this fall.

This scholarship program attracts PAL teens from our programs throughout the city. The scholarships are a way to express our appreciation for the hard work and dedication that these teens show to achieve their goals despite personal hardships.

PAL Archivist and a member of the selection committee Elinor King says, “Our scholarship winners are not the average college applicants. They often have touching, sometimes anguishing life stories and yet they continue to strive!”

I am so proud to work with NYPD and supporters like you who are giving our young people a chance to dream big and fulfill their aspirations. It is a privilege to ensure that PAL is a place for our youth to learn, grow, and thrive. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

P.S. Tonight, more than 100 young professionals are getting together to support PAL. The PAL Contemporaries are the next generation of PAL supporters and champions and tonight’s gathering is just one of the many social and volunteer events that the group is sponsoring this year.

STEM Enrichment at PAL

Dear Friends,

Last week, our children enjoyed their spring break at PAL holiday camps. In addition to educational and fun field trips, our young people danced to their hearts’ content at the energetic PAL Showstoppers competition - a citywide performing arts event.

As they head back to their regular after-school schedule, our children are ramping up their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiments that they will demonstrate at the annual PAL Science Fair, which will take place in May.

This year, our children are exploring the topic – Behavioral and Social Science. Each after-school center will address a unique question such as personal space, self-gratification, facial expressions and the concept of beauty. Within these broad topics, our young people have been given the autonomy to identify a particular issue and then decide how to resolve that issue.

These are important topics for today’s generation. While learning technological skills are important, understanding human behaviors in school, at work, and in the community as well as within personal relationships are what will help them achieve their goals and aspirations.

Our young people have the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and teamwork to address questions from the visitors, including prominent New Yorkers and the media. As you can see, our STEM enrichment activities give our children the opportunity to transcend their personal hardships and explore new ideas and discover new aspects of themselves.

I want to thank you and corporate partners like Con Edison, which has supported STEM initiatives at PAL for more than a decade. You make vibrant educational programs like the PAL Science Fair possible. If you would like to learn more about PAL’s STEM programs, we would be happy to arrange a visit to the PAL Science Fair. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

PAL kids take on important issues

This month, I want to highlight our technology-related initiatives at PAL. We try to give our youth several ways to build digital skills and use them to discuss important issues in our communities today. 

For example, PAL youth are taking on cyberbullying this year. In a survey conducted by NYC Department of Education, 81% of its students have experienced bullying or harassment in schools. With the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office support, PAL teens and afterschool kids created compelling short films to combat cyberbullying, which were publicly screened last month.

Thanks to funding from NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, PAL Wynn Center in Brooklyn has launched film-making classes with LPZ Cinetech. Our middle-school kids are learning film production and will produce a short film on a community issue by the end of the school year. I look forward to sharing the film with you when it is completed.

We also have PAL kids from our Harlem Center, New South Bronx Center and Wynn Center taking part in Global Scholars. This program is digitally connecting middle-school students from 13 US cities and 26 countries to explore how  access to healthful foods  influences public health in their home city.

As you can see from this remarkable list of activities, we are engaging our young people in civic issues of importance to  them. I encourage you to visit PAL YouTube to see how your support helps PAL kids become the best they can be. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

PAL kids and NYPD officers perform together at Carnegie Hall

As you know, for more than 100 years, PAL has been bringing children, police officers and communities together, primarily through education and sports. In recent years, we have been increasing our creative arts offerings, which has provided our young people and officers have more outlets to communicate with one another. 

One example is a songwriting project with our program partner, Decoda, where NYPD officers and PAL teens worked together to create original songs. The project culminated with the officers and PAL teens  performing their songs at Carnegie Hall in December. Initially some of our teens struggled with the idea of working with officers, since their perception of NYPD was less than positive. But at their first meeting at PAL Duncan Center, the 14 PAL teens and 11 NYPD officers began to chip away at any doubt that they may have had and real bonds began to grow.

Eight weeks later the teens and officers - along with the musical support of Decoda, a modular chamber ensemble - had composed seven thought-provoking songs. The night of the performance, each song was met with a standing ovation. It was clear to see that a true bond had grown between the PAL teens and the officers. Hugs and outward expressions of affection among the police and the teens were on full display. We have posted a few inspiring photos on Facebook.

I am so proud of our PAL teens and the officers who worked on the songwriting project. PAL has an incredible tool in sports to engage young people and cops in positive activities. Now, thanks in part to your support, we are also developing our young people’s storytelling and performing skills - that will help them in school and in life.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

The New Year at PAL

At the Police Athletic League, the New Year is looking very promising and I want to share what we have in store for PAL kids in 2018.

PAL kids are back in our after-school programs and they are getting ready to explore the theme “Music and Musicians.” Our kids at each center will select a musician whose biography and music style will be explored in the next three months. I think our young people will have a rewarding experience researching a variety of music composed in America – from hip hop to country.

PAL Cops & Kids sports program is launching its basketball season next week. We are grateful that we have dedicated police officers who want to inspire teens as positive role models and mentors through this signature program at PAL.

Another signature program of ours – PAL Girl Talk – is also starting the new year with a new program format. Offered in eight after-school centers, PAL Girl Talk aims to give middle-school girls a safe space to share and learn together. PAL Girl Talk’s success lies in the involvement of female professionals – Women of Inspiration – who serve as guest speakers, sharing their life experiences and engaging in heart-to-heart conversations with our young women. I will give you more updates about PAL Girl Talk in the coming months.

Finally, we are launching PAL Contemporaries with a meet and greet event on Wednesday, January 24th at PAL Duncan Center. It will be an opportunity for early and mid-career New Yorkers to get involved with PAL. Members of PAL Contemporaries will meet to volunteer with PAL kids and organize social events with their peers. To join us on January 24th, please RSVP here. You can learn more about PAL Contemporaries by calling 212-477-9450 ext. 355.

We thank you for supporting PAL’s mission and we look forward to your continued commitment in 2018. We wish you a Happy New Year.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL

PAL Holiday Party

Last weekend we held one of my favorite events - the PAL Holiday Party. This year, our New South Bronx Center was turned into a winter wonderland for the event. Thanks to hosts John and Margo Catsimatidis and generous donors like you, PAL provided this special holiday party to over 400 PAL youth who came from our 20 centers in all five boroughs.

What makes this day so great is seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. No matter what is going on in these children’s lives at home or at school, we know that PAL is able to give them a fun -filled day full of warmth and good cheer. During the party, the children played games, made art, and cheered on performances by other PAL kids. Of course, they also met Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts and supporters every child received a gift. We also raffled off special gifts like bikes.

Special guests at the event included NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill, and Chief Joanne Jaffe along with 20 police officers. A number of the officers were from the 41st precinct.  To make this magical day happen it takes a lot of hard work on the part of PAL staff and volunteers. This year we had over 40 volunteers, including PAL teens and corporate employees. We are grateful for all their hard work.

The PAL family wishes you and your family Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Watts

Executive Director, PAL