While he fondly recalls the football and basketball games and tournaments, the Police Athletic League was more than just fun and games for PAL alumnus Cory McKinney. “PAL taught me the fundamentals of life and some basic life skills as well,” said
Those early lessons, such as taking responsibility for his actions, also put McKinney on the right path during his formative years -- a time in which his life could have gone either way. “I could have taken a wrong turn a long time ago. PAL influenced me to go the right way,” he says.
McKinney’s advice to young children in the PAL program right now?
“Just to do the right things,” says
McKinney. “It’s easy to do wrong, but in the end nothing good comes out of it. Stay in school and get your education. You can be whatever you want to be.”
Nick Wallery credits the Police Athletic League staff that worked with him as a youngster with making him a better basketball player. But perhaps the most lasting impact of his time in PAL was the comfort and security he gained by being around people who truly cared about him and were there when he needed it.
“PAL was like family, like a second home for me,” says Wallery.
Wallery says he learned valuable life lessons through PAL, such as how to work cooperatively with others. And he urges the kids currently in the program to do the same.
As a youth, Willie Smith loved playing football in the Police Athletic League. And he doesn’t mince words when talking about the impact that PAL had on his future direction as an adult.
“PAL helped me straighten up my life. No doubt about it,” says Smith. “It kept me out of trouble.”
PAL also taught him how to become a better person, adds Smith. “PAL means a lot to me because it taught me how to be a man on my own.”
His advice to other PAL kids? “Play sports to stay out of trouble and stay in PAL to do positive things.”
As a PAL alumnus, Cedrick Jackson looks back at his early Police Athletic League experiences with great fondness and considers them “fun learning experiences.”
But they were much more than that. In fact,
Jackson credits PAL with helping to spark his football career. Most of all,
Jackson says those early experiences helped him reach his potential as an adult.
“It helped me realize that I actually had the potential to be big in sports,” says
Jackson. “It also taught me a valuable life lesson, and that is to never give up.”
Jackson’s advice to young children in the PAL program right now?
“If you have a dream, stick with it!”
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