Do you know the thrill of having a friend pass you the ball or the laughter and high fives all around when your team pulls off a great play? What about the excitement of having a mentor tell you that your resume looks great? Have you called a huddle with your team and been able to tell them how proud you are or their hard work and collaboration, as their coach? Being part of a team makes a difference for everyone involved.
I’m asking for you to give even more San Francisco kids, volunteers and officers the positive experience of joining the SFPAL team by making your donation today.
By supporting young people, a lot changes in our community. “You can point right to the Chief’s philosophy: it is incredibly important that the police and San Francisco youth have positive interactions,” says Captain David Lazar, SFPAL board member (and former SFPAL kid).
“When kids see a squad car on the road, they are excited and friendly because the driver might be their basketball coach or the officer who helped them with their 3-point shot at a jamboree.”
Captain Lazar points out that many police officers have fond memories of mentors who helped them in their youth. He’d like more San Francisco kids to know the benefit of having a police officer as a mentor and to aspire to be officers themselves.
For example, PAL Law Enforcement Cadet Program students age 14–20 try life as a police officer through community service, leadership, rigorous physical training and year- round internships at stations across the city. Former Chief of Police Tony Ribera, PhD (a professor at University of San Francisco) hosts a college night for cadets and their families to explain the importance of higher education for a career in law enforcement or public service. This year, Chief Greg Suhr came to share his experience, as did Retired Captain Rick Bruce (SFPAL Board President) and SFPD PAL Cadet Coordinator Officer Edie Lewis.
Cadet Intern Ryan Prasadi said it was important that the event was so informative. “Many of the attendees were 15 or around that age, so this event was their first college experience. A lot of them were surprised: they weren’t very knowledgeable about USF or the programs they offer. Most cadets want to be police officers and a few want to be lawyers, yet they didn’t know there are many schools they could attend right here in San Francisco.”
Our SFPAL Law Enforcement Cadet Program is just one of many fabulous ways kids, volunteers and officers can all be part of the same team to make San Francisco a fun, safe, and just place to live. Thanks to the dedication of thousands of volunteer and staff coaches and mentors, we are able to expand registration for our traditional programs like soccer, basketball, Seahawks football, Junior Giants baseball, cheer and judo. We also in 2014 will take innovative new programs to the next stage such as: conditioning, special single-day events like basketball jamborees, as well as experiment with teaching forensics, communications and technology.
We serve kids from every school, every neighborhood and every block. And as always, we never turn anyone away for inability to pay. We hope to one day to be able to say we never turn anyone away at all. Right now, our programs are so popular and the need is so great that we don’t have enough spots for everyone who wants to join in.
Many thanks from the kids and all of us of San Francisco PAL.
P.S. Please take a moment right now to donate – it is easy! You can charge your credit card, send a check in the enclosed envelope, donate online at SFPAL.org or call 415-401-4667.