It would be easy to argue that no organizations in our county have made more of a difference in our young people's lives in recent years than the police activities and athletic leagues.
Aside from providing activities ranging from crafts to boxing, to help with homework, to soccer leagues, the PALs provide adult mentoring to our young people, many of whom need just that. On top of that, the PALs show youths that police officers are real people with real hearts, minds and feelings, thereby breaking down barriers, particularly for youths from rough neighborhoods who have always thought of cops as enemies to be avoided.
The PAL movement is relatively new in the Imperial Valley, but in the few years it has operated it has spread throughout the region, and done so with a depth of programs and large numbers of kids involved.
That four of our largest local PALs will be getting $52,500 a year, more or less, of extra money for the next five years is wonderful news. The Brawley, Calexico and El Centro PALs and the county Sheriff's Activities League are well-established and have a history of making positive impacts on the lives of young people.