HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - - A little dancing, and night on the town could help improve the lives of area youth. Harrisburg's Police Athletic League is holding an annual Dancing with the Harrisburg Stars Gala.
The money raised provides mentoring and character development programs.Harrisburg Police Corporal Ty Meik and his K-9 partner Zar are connecting with Harrisburg teens.
They are members of Harrisburg Police Athletic League or HPAL, a youth mentoring organization for 8 to 17 year-olds.
"The unique part of our group is we try to work very close with local law enforcement agencies to provide the proper mentors for the kids in our program, " Kevin Gill, Harrisburg Police Athletic League CEO said.
HPAL participant Albert House expresses what he enjoys about the program. "I like how it gets us more involved with police because some people might think they are bad guys and they show us they are the good people," House said.
HPAL offers mentoring and character development programs. " I do basketball. I learned how to pass the ball and play as a team," House said. "You start to see the attitudes they come into the program begin to change."
"They begin to see different experiences that they might not have seen as a result of being involved with the program," James Jones, Harrisburg Police Athletic League's program director said.
The kids also enjoy fun outings like fishing. We actually take everyone down to Gifford Pinchot state park along with Fish and Boat commission we give them brief lessons how to fish it's an all day event," Gill said.
Another all day event, is the popular Shop With A Cop. Officers and kids go to Walmart in Harrisburg with a donated spending limit to shop and wrap for the kids families.
Donations, grants and fundraising events including the upcoming Dancing With The Harrisburg Stars Gala.
"The Gala is our largest fundraiser of the year and that money goes directly towards the youth programs that we are running," Gill said.
Programs that are making a difference. Just ask Harrisburg Police Sgt. Russell Winder.
"When I go out on those streets and I just stop and say hello there is no stopping them from coming up and talking to us," Winder said.
"In the end really, the end results is we are developing good citizens in the future," Gill. Tickets are still available for the September 8, 2018 gala being held at the Hilton Harrisburg.
Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick is serving as a judge along with Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick. Abc27 is honored to serve as media sponsor. RSVP by September 3.
To RSVP click here.