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West Palm Beach's PAL program expands reach for kids ages 3 to 17

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Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 19:04:14-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — What’s the best way to build trust between youth and law enforcement? Team them together. And the West Palm Beach Police Athletic League does just that. It’s led to a reduction in juvenile crimes in the Historic Northwest District— but there’s other needs that still need met.

At the intersection of Tamarind Avenue and Seventh Street there’s a multi-million dollar streetscape overhaul, and amongst it inside the Police Athletic League there’s other investments being made.

“This is where interactions with law enforcement at a young age have proven to have less negative interactions later on in life,” said Brittany Perdigon, West Palm Beach PAL executive director.

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The program for ages three to 17 is building bonds between kids, law enforcement and the community, six days a week. There’s after-school tutoring and recreation, life skills classes, civic programming and nutrition courses, just to name a few. And one of the biggest benefits is enrichment travel and exposure with police.

”We are truly all about juvenile crime prevention,” Perdigon said. “Intersecting them at a young age and keeping them busy and actively involved with officers and that way they can realize life of crime is not the way that they want to go.”

Perdigon said while the benefit to tax payers is great, the program survives on public support.

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“We are 100% off of donations and grants. That is how we fund organization,” she said.

It’s their financial and volunteer manpower support that’s been impacted by the pandemic, but the donations are still coming in.

”Christmas came early for PAL,” said Shakilya Davis, West Palm Beach PAL center manager.

Davis is talking about a $32,000, 15-passenger van donated by Ed Morse Automotive Group— who supports the organization mantra that ‘Every kid needs a PAL.’

“This is what they asked for,” said Teddy Morse, Ed Morse Automotive Group CEO and chairman. “This is what they said they needed, so we wanted to help out with that. I feel if you have the ability to help, you have the responsibility to help.”

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Teddy Morse, Ed Morse Automotive Group CEO and chairman, and PAL kids.

This level of help ensures more kids will be safely transported home, on college tours and wherever else their path takes them.

“Giving isn’t restricted to just one thing. The important thing is — when you recognize a need that you do everything you can to fill it,” Morse said.

”Stop by, see us. If for some reason you are unable to donate monetarily, I’ve got plenty of volunteer opportunities,” added Perdigon.

Perdigon said exposure reminds kids they are not bound by their ZIP code. To learn more on how you can help, visit here.

Or, if you’d like to get your child involved with PAL visit here.