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Help PAL this holiday season

Over 56,000 kids citywide have found they have a pal in The Police Athletic League (PAL), the city’s largest, non-profit independent youth organization.
Coordinated by police officers and community volunteers, PAL conducts after-school, summer, evening and weekend programs that provide athletics, games, arts and crafts, cultural activities, remedial reading, homework help and drug counseling in supporting environments.
Director Ursula Cooper Hunter operates a PAL branch in Flushing. There, PAL’s focus is providing after-school programming to children in grades kindergarten to fifth. This is especially important for parents who do not have flexible schedules – especially those who work full-time.
During the after-school program, both recreation and structured learning opportunities are available. Through recreation, children have the opportunity to “grow, develop, and exercise.” According to Hunter, this is important because many children “no longer have the same number of hours of gym [in school] that they once had.”
“Not only do we provide an extension of learning, but children also learn social skills and how to get along with other people,” said Hunter.
PAL also allows children the opportunity to identify with authoritative figures at a young age.
“There is a police officer who is assigned to northern Queens who does programming with us. We have a program called the Junior Police and he leads the program,” said Hunter. “It allows the children to see the police officers as children and as a part of a community.”
Children also have access to various clubs such as drama, arts and crafts, science, and art. Each month, there is also a different theme. This creates for a fun learning environment.
“These are a lot of things they wouldn’t necessarily get in school. The kids are really enjoying it. This month, the theme is fairy tales and fables,” said Hunter.
PAL has 21 full-time centers and 26 part-time youth centers established in disadvantaged communities.
During this holiday season, consider making a tax-deductible contribution, donation of books, art materials or sports equipment, or even volunteer your time and services at your local PAL center.
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to Police Athletic League, 34 1/2 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 or by logging on to www.palnyc.org and clicking on “Donate to PAL” under the About Us tab.

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