Since our inception, the Police Athletic League 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, mentors, and positive influences. Now, as community policing becomes a larger part of the public conversation, it is important to recognize the law enforcement community, not only for their bravery in protecting New York City citizens, but for all that they do for PAL kids.
The PAL Cops and Kids Sports program bridges the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In this program, NYPD officers volunteer their time to serve as teammates, mentors, and role models to PAL kids. All year round, officers develop meaningful relationships with our kids while playing basketball, flag football, baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer. Positive interactions like these keep our kids on the right track and strengthen the community as a whole.
The Junior Police Club, one of PAL’s oldest traditions, is open to youth at our after-school centers. Junior Police Club members connect with the NYPD throughout the year through local precinct visits, crime prevention workshops, and while working together on community service projects. They end the year with a graduation ceremony at the Police Academy.
The relationships that our kids develop with police officers go even deeper than having fun in organized programs. Last Mother’s Day, our kids at Duncan Center celebrated “Female Superheroes Day” by creating and sharing artwork that paid tribute to their female role models. Some children shared pictures of well-known celebrities, while others of their family members. However, I was surprised and delighted when I saw so many children share drawings of Sgt. Liza Aviles, who frequently stops by the Duncan center to play games with the kids and help with their homework.
We appreciate the support of the NYPD, and are especially grateful for the leadership of PAL’s honorary president, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill; and Chief of Community Affairs Bureau Joanne Jaffe. Their leadership ensures that PAL’s partnership with NYPD officers thrives throughout the year.
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.”
Frederick J. Watts
Executive Director, PAL
P.S. We are celebrating #GivingPALPride on Tuesday, November 29th, also known as “Giving Tuesday.” We hope that you will join us on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages to celebrate PAL and share your PAL story.