A Story of Engagement

A Story of Engagement

Each year, more than 200 kids in the Tuscaloosa area take part in the Police Athletic League after school program. There, the transformative value of participating in athletics is seen in the lessons learned on and off the court.

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At the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Tuscaloosa, change is happening through athletics. PAL pairs at-risk youth with police officers who provide guidance through athletic, educational and cultural programs. Each year, more than 200 students come to the PAL gym for its after school program. It’s in this after school program where young people are being transformed by athletic effort and the right kind of coaching.

“I always saw myself as someone who would give back and I saw at PAL people who were doing that.”

Demario Pippen

former PAL participant

 

Executive Director Lillie Leatherwood found her calling after joining the Tuscaloosa Police Department. Having trained to become an Olympic sprinter and having won gold and silver medals in the 400-meter relay, Leatherwood deeply understood the transformative value of participating in athletics. So, when the opportunity to serve in the Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League arose, she knew she was in the right place.

Leatherwood recognized the need for better tools and resources to help kids in the program finish their homework and enhance their learning. Thanks to a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation, PAL was able to construct a computer lab with cubicles, a printer and 10 computers equipped with educational games and software. Now, kids in the PAL program are able to focus on academics and athletics.

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