When the Fresno Police Activities League (PAL) was founded 27 years ago, its goal was to keep kids out of trouble by building a positive relationship with them.
Officers in the southwest policing district are reaching out in new ways to engage young people in the community they serve through the activities league, best known for after school programs designed to keep kids out of trouble.
Now, the league is moving in a new direction, working harder to nurture kids and help them see their full potential.
“PAL is taking a new approach to what they’ve done in the past and it’s not just being involved in one specific area, we are reaching out to different parts of the city and this is one of the new programs that we are launching here in the City of Fresno,” says Sgt. Leonard Cabrera with the Fresno Police Department.
“For me this is very important for me to engage you guys,” he adds.
This is the first ever PAL Leadership Academy and it’s being launched at Gaston Middle School in southwest Fresno. Thirty-nine seventh and eighth graders make up the first class.
“This is a 10-week leadership program that we started and we are talking about leadership traits, ethics, the ability to make sound decisions, things that are going to help them later on down the road and it’s to create the environment so they can succeed,” Cabrera explains.
He and Sgt. Conrado Martin head up the program, which is all volunteer for them, doing it on their own time.
“What I want them to be able to take away from this is, that they know that they have someone here that is willing to take the time to get them to the next level,” says Sgt. Conrado Martin with the Fresno Police Department.
“I think it’s a great thing that they are doing,” says Francisco Ervin with the Student Leadership Academy, adding, “They are helping people add on to their dream being a better person, doing what they can to be successful.”
During the 10-week program, these young people will also learn more about policing and what these officers do. Teachers from Fresno State and and Fresno City College will help students develop their public speaking and writing skills,” Ervin explains.
He adds, “It’s important that we start with our youth, our youth come first and we feel we can impact their youth and develop them put them in a position so they can succeed it’s a win for the community, it’s a win for the city of Fresno and more importantly it’s going to create better leaders for the future.”