Summer Program Brings Hope to Troubled Community

by Evangeline Axiotis
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PAL Program
Evangeline Axiotis, WFUV

Police organized program works to deter Bronx kids from drugs and gangs.

Efforts are underway to turn around a Bronx community troubled by drugs. Morris Heights welcomed the PAL Play Street Program to their Roland Patterson School with a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.

The Police Athletic League used money from a recent string of drug busts in the area to fund the program, helping turn a negative into a positive for the community.

The Play Street program is designed to keep kids out of trouble by providing them with a safe and fun alternatives. The program organizes activities for kids such as basketball, volleyball, arts and crafts, and cultural events with no charge to the families.

As part of the program, kids are also required to participate in educational workshops such as bullying and gang prevention.

"The Play Streets provide an opportunity for youth to engage in stimulating activities while building positive relationships with other youth, staff and the law enforcement community," said PAL Executive Director Alana Sweeny. "They gain confidence, build self-esteem and learn how to make good decisions."

PAL's Summer Play Street program was founded in 1914 and currently serves 56,000 children annually.

The Morris Heights program will run through August 10th, Monday-Thursday from 1 p.m to 5 p.m.

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