The Police Athletic League
(P.A.L.) is a registered non-profit 501c3 organization that is dedicated to providing affordable after school, summer and athletic opportunities to more than 500 Central Florida youth. P.A.L. has partnered with the multiple organizations to provide a safe, healthy environment for our community’s children and teens. P.A.L.’s partnership with the police department provides mentorship as well as safety and crime prevention programs. In addition, P.A.L. has partnered with a number of community organizations to provide athletic, educational and recreational development. While P.A.L. serves a large number of youth, typically from low to moderate income households headed by a single parent, all children are welcome and encouraged to participate in our programs.
Throughout the school year, P.A.L. will serve over 100 elementary children in a highly structured, academically and recreationally balanced afterschool program. Students are transported from local schools to P.A.L. where they receive a nutritious snack. Students complete their homework with the assistance of highly qualified staff members and individual tutoring is available for students who are struggling with a particular skill or subject. Once students have completed all homework assignments they are free to play either indoors or outdoors. Physical activity is encouraged by engaging children in team sports such as volleyball, kickball and dodge ball. P.A.L. provides extended hours during school holidays and breaks, allowing parents to continue working to support their family.
During the summer, P.A.L. provides a day camp for more than 150 youth ranging from 5 years old to 15 years of age. Campers are divided into developmental age groups with specific activities and opportunities to meet their unique needs and interests. Specific field trips are scheduled for each group to enhance each child’s knowledge of the world.
The Police Athletic League has enhanced its athletic programs with the completion of the new Gymnasium/Civic Center. PAL now offers recreational and competitive Basketball, Tackle Football, Flag Football, Soccer and Cheerleading programs. The athletic programs are scheduled in conjunction with a particular sport season. Registration is open to the public for children between the ages of five and sixteen, pending on the particular sport. PAL teaches skills such as the importance of fair play, working as a team player, and good sportsmanship. Included in these programs are lessons on nutrition and the importance of physical conditioning.
Statistics show that the hours from 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on school days are prime time for youth to commit crimes and experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex. Combine that with the fact that across the United States 15.1 million children take care of themselves after school, and you have a formula for high juvenile crime — a formula that plays out in community after community, including Orange County.
For more than 40 years, PAL has been helping to break the cycle by providing a safe place for underserved children to go after school. Engaging at-risk youth during these critically important hours contributes to a significant reduction in juvenile crime.
PAL’s Unique Approach
PAL is unique among youth development programs because it builds respect, trust and friendship between youth and law enforcement officers in addition to providing activities and programs for underserved children. By offering young people an opportunity to interact with and develop strong positive attitudes toward police officers, PAL is helping to build law-abiding citizens who will contribute to our community throughout their lives.
The Police Athletic League of Orlando/Apopka enriches the lives of children by creating positive relationships between law enforcement officers and the youth of our community through educational, athletic and leadership programs.