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

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