The weather outside might be frightful, but that doesn’t mean Queens kids can’t delight in indoor sports this winter.
The Police Athletic League (PAL) is providing the opportunity for kids to hit the hardwood this winter with their Cops & Kids winter basketball program. Registration for the program is currently open through January 10, 2011, for Queens young people, ages 14 to 17.
This program creates positive interaction between the New York Police Department (NYPD) and members of their local communities by connecting them to the youth through sports. It also acts as a means of crime prevention, according to one member of the organization.
“The goal of the Cops & Kids program is to keep young people engaged in structured recreational activities as a means of prevention,” said Felix A. Urrutia, Jr., executive director of PAL. “While playing and socializing with police officers and PAL youth development professionals, young people learn important lessons about teamwork and healthy relationships with peers and adults.”
Queens youth have the opportunity to participate free-of-charge on the Cops & Kids teams offered in their communities. They also have the chance to play in end-of-season tournaments against PAL’s Cops & Kids teams from across the city.
New York’s PAL is the first and largest civilian-run PAL in the country. They provide recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to over 56,000 boys and girls annually.
“I met a police officer on PAL’s basketball team who let me know that he really cares about me and he made sure that I was coming to all the games,” said Lyteek, a Cops & Kids participant. “Growing up in my neighborhood, people tell you that police officers are out to get you. That is not true at all. I found out that police officers are here to help you. Knowing he cares really made a difference to me.”
Each year, 825 cops volunteer their time to coach and play basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and flag football with young people throughout the five boroughs.
To sign up for PAL’s Cops & Kids winter basketball season or for more information on programs in Queens, contact your local police precinct’s youth officer or PAL’s field operations department at 212-477-9450, Ext. 389. Also visit www.palnyc.org for more information.