Students in first through eighth grades no longer have to endure dull afterschool sessions. Police Athletic League Centers throughout the borough are currently providing children the opportunity to explore their interests, by offering a wide variety of extracurricular activities.
“PAL Clubs give the children in our After School Program the opportunity to explore their interests, develop talents and apply their new skills in real life, practical situations,” said PAL Executive Director Felix A. Urrutia Jr.
“They have a whole curriculum on how to do the right thing and how to make the right choices,” added Kathryn Wright, PAL’s Queens Borough Director.
Children at PAL’s Edward Byrne Center in South Jamaica; P.S. 214 in Flushing; Far Rockaway Beacon in Arverne and Redfern Center in Far Rockaway take part in organizing community service activities and can discover their talents by pursuing a topic that interests them most. In Far Rockaway, for example, participants are involved in a fitness campaign as part of PAL’s effort to engage children in their community.
Depending on the center, additional activities offered can include cheerleading, cooking, dance, film, journalism, martial arts, poetry and sign language. Children can participate in the Track and Field Club as well, which teaches the basics of the sport and places a major focus on personal development and skills training.
All children participate in PAL’s Junior Police Club, a leadership development program that engages youngsters in civic projects and encourages a positive relationship between youth and police officers through a partnership with the NYPD Liaison Unit.
In fact, following their presentations at the First Annual Junior Police Jamboree on Wednesday, June 9, young “recruits” from the PAL Centers in Queens were sworn in by Police Commissioner and Honorary PAL President Raymond W. Kelly, with the Junior Police Pledge.
“The swearing-in ceremony for our Junior Police Club members celebrates the historic partnership between PAL and the NYPD. It is a testament to our unmatched work in bringing Cops and Kids together to foster understanding and build respectful relationships,” explained Urrutia.
The main focus of the program is to instill a sense of leadership among its participants and to highlight the importance of giving back to the community.
“While the Junior Police Club’s values remain the same since its inception in 1914, it has been modified to account for the challenges facing youth today. We call on PAL’s Junior Police members to exemplify pride, respect, courage, sportsmanship, responsible citizenship, and a healthy appreciation for the NYPD and law enforcement community,” said Urrutia.
For more information on PAL Clubs offered in PAL’s After School Program, visit www.palnyc.org.