Quite the field trip for these Harrisburg Police Athletic League kids. The police cruiser is an attention getter. Yeli Musa's favorite part of the visit? "Meeting the police officer!"
Another hit: Police K-9 Riggs and his handler, Kelly English.
Police Chief Tom Carter took questions from the kids. "If you look at the history of PAL throughout the nation, they have always done positive things for young men and young women. A lot of kids though PAL have gone on to higher education, and they've come back and given [back to] the community that they grew up in," said Carter.
He knows first hand: He was one of those PAL young men.
This was followed by a stop in Mayor Papenfuse's office for picture-taking in the "official" chair and a brief history lesson.
"I enjoyed learning all the new educational stuff," said PAL participant Barry Daniels.
There is plenty of fun stuff too, including sports and other activities.
Former Harrisburg School student and all-star quarterback for the Canadian Football League Jimmy Jones serves as a consultant for PAL.
"One of the things we think is very important is that the identity of police officers with the identity of children and community members is not always positive, so programming coming from police officers is very important. Building that relationship and making sure that police officers and children help change the culture of how we think about things when we move forward," said Jones.
The nonprofit has also made some recent internal changes to secure PAL's future. "A total restructuring. You have new board members that have come on. Different disciplines involved in how the funding is transferred and those kinds of things part of my job with PAL as a consultant to them is to look at solid organizations and to make sure those characteristics exist with in PAL," said Jones.
To continue its mission, the nonprofit needs your financial help. "It's all about the kids. It's all about the children. You want to make sure you have the resources to provide to children so you fill the gaps, especially your inner city kids aren't as fortunate to have. It's really about making sure you are doing a good job for them," said Jones.
There is a benefit to help fund PAL programs: A Dancing With The Stars event will take place at the Radisson on August 16 at the Radisson in Camp Hill. Tickets cost $75 a person or $200 a couple, that will guarantee you sit together.
The ticket prices includes dinner, the show, dancing and a silent auction. If you would like to attend, contact the Harrisburg Police Athletic League at (717) 508-7258.