Thousands of people from California along with other parts of the United States are members of the PAL family.
We would very much like to hear from you!
Leave us a e-mail post and let us know who you are, where you are from and details about where and when you attended PAL. Let us also know about a positive memory about your PAL experience:
My name is Tyrone Davis and I was (still am) a part of Oakland PAL starting in 1987. My best memories were the Oakland PAL summer camp (Camp Dilsaver) and trout pond. (2/12/14)
I have spent half my life in PAL. As a Fresno PAL Kid, from 2000 to 2004, I experienced my most positive, life-changing experiences. From Sacramento Experience, to the Camporees, and Beach Play Days, I had the opportunity to do things many others never get the chance to do in a lifetime. Now, I currently serve as Youth Advisor and sit on the Board of Directors. PAL is not about keeping kids off the streets and away from drugs, gangs, and violence. It’s about providing a safe haven and a community of role models that inspire. I am forever grateful to be a part of this family and it is my hope that this family continues to grow. ~ Jorge Rodriguez (2/25/14)
My name is Mayra Naranjo. I was part of Richmond PAL and CAL PAL YLC. Joining PAL was not my own choice although staying was. Being part of Richmond PAL and CAL PAL YLC helped me grow as an individual. I was able to find my strengths as a leader. I still use skills learned while I was a PAL kid. I give credit to PAL for my ability to graduate with my B.A. and soon my M.A. (2/25/14)
My name is Denton and I was part of the Fresno PAL starting in 2003 up until 2009. My best memory was being a member of the Fresno YLC group and the friends that I made. I am now a senior at Fresno State University. (2/25/14)
"My name is Dimitry Malkov, I am originally from Ukraine, I was a Santa Monica PAL kid from around 2004 until 2010, and was also involved in the police explorer program and the CAL PAL youth board of directors. PAL has had a tremendous positive influence on me, and I am very proud of my association with the program. One of the many positive experiences I went through while I was at PAL was probably when I got a chance to help run and be a part of the Sacramento Experience and Life After High School CAL PAL events. Thus far I have served three years in Active Duty Army as an Infantry soldier, am currently a correctional officer for the state of Maryland. I am a year away from attaining my Bachelors in Psychology, which I plan to apply in my lifelong pursuit to becoming a police officer in the state of California. Thank you PAL for everything you have done for me and for the positive changes you bring to peoples lives daily." (2/28/14)
I was originally from the Atwater PAL and I served on the California PAL YDC for 3 years. Before that, I was a part of the Atwater PAL for 12 years. Currently, I am a freshman at Santa Clara University, double majoring in Communications and Economics with a Women and Gender's Studies Minor. My favorite memory of CAL PAL was in 2012 when I received the California PAL "Youth of the Year" Award in Anaheim. It was such an honor to receive this award in front of my fellow friends and PAL Members. I'm so incredibly thankful for the countless leadership skills that I've learned through PAL and the multitude of friends that I gained as well. - Veronica Ybarra (3/4/2014)
My name is Amber Castellana (Larkin). I'm a former PAL kid from Santa Monica 2000-2004. I was apart of the group of kids that started Santa Monica Youth Directors Council. Was able to experience The Youth Directors Conference in Disney World, The Sacramento Experience (twice) and Life After High School CAL PAL. I loved my time I had with Santa Monica PAL - The Hiking Club, Chez PAL, Homework Club, SAT Prep Club, Camping, Friday Night Activities, Broom Ball, Bicycle Club. PAL gave me the opportunity to give back to my community while making some great friendships. I am proud to say that I was a PAL kid. I'm currently a Dispatcher/Communications Specialist for Boston MedFlight. I hope my children are fortunate enough to experience a wonderful organization like PAL. (3/4/14)
Hollywood PAL was the biggest part of my childhood, teenage years, and young adulthood. My parents signed me up for PAL when I was 9 years old. (I am currently 22 years old.) Starting with Tae Kwon Do, I became a part of the basketball team, Youth Director's Council, Junior Police Academy, Student's Run LA, Fit Club, and just about anything else they offered throughout the years (except soccer... I was terrible at it.) My full week started and ended with PAL. Thanks to this program, I was able to ride an LAPD helicopter, meet Kobe Bryant, attend high-end events, and visit EVERY theme park in Southern California. Most importantly, I was given the help I needed to receive my bachelor's degree from my dream college, UCLA, and move on to grad school for my master's and teaching credential in Special Education at Loyola Marymount University. I will be forever grateful that I continued to receive both professional and personal support after high school through an Administrative Assistant position, a four-year scholarship, and mentorship from the board members. Without PAL, my life would not be going in the direction I envisioned and dreamt for myself. I owe a lot to this program and can only hope to one day be able to give back. - Jamecelle Ventura (3/5/14)
HI! My name is Rudy Gonzalez from the Atwater PAL youth leadership council along with being apart of the CAL PAL YDC board. I joined my PAL my freshmen year and have had some of the best experiences through PAL and also met some of the greatest people ever since then!My best experiences ever were made by what I did with my PAL. Truly an AMAZING experience that helped me figure out what I am pursuing with my life. - -Rudy Gonzalez (3/5/14)
My name is Fatima Alliyani and I am a Santa Monica PAL Alumni. I was a PAL member from 2004-2012. Whenever I look back at my experiences in being in PAL, I always think about the amazing times that I had meeting people, attending field trips during the summer, doing community service with the Youth Leadership Council, and even having the opportunity to participate and run the LA Marathon. Santa Monica PAL is not only an after-school program but it is also a place where students and children can grow as individuals. I even encouraged my younger brother and sister to join because of the great opportunities that are offered. Although there are not many programs like this, I am happy that I was able to be part of something worthwhile. At the end of the day, Santa Monica PAL is and will always be a second home for me.
As of now, I have already graduated from the university. I am an Alumni of the University of California, Riverside, and have received my BA in Global Studies. In addition I am also working for a non-profit organization in Omaha, Nebraska called College Possible as an AmeriCorps member, helping low-income high school students to get them to and through college. I hope to continue to give back to my community and to be a role-model and an advocate to others. Thank you PAL for everything! (3/5/14)
What I affectionately call, “my PAL story” begins more than a decade ago as an impressionable six year old. I began exclusively within Santa Monica PAL’s martial arts program, and my involvement only grew exponentially from there. I quickly became one of the youngest members of the Youth Leadership Council, and I sustained and expanded my involvement into high school when I quickly became involved in YLC leadership; serving as both Trustee and President. PAL quickly became a major part of my life, and soon most major holidays became incomplete without a celebration at PAL. Every Halloween from 2 years old to college was spent with SMPAL at Barker Hanger; first as a participant, and then for many years as a volunteer. It was here that I first learned the value of giving back to a community that has given you so much.
Santa Monica PAL became a central part of my life, and continuously influenced my experiences from an early age—I also became involved in the California PAL Youth Directors’ Council on which I served as a board member for nearly 4 years, during which time I had the opportunity to represent PAL and my state to both congressional representatives and other leaders from across the country. During my time with the board I was able to work with staff and peers from across the state to host numerous successful events including Youth Leadership Academy’s and Life After High School. My time with California PAL culminated in being awarded “Boy of the Year” in 2010.
While my time working directly within PAL dwindled once I moved across the country for college, the impact PAL has had on me remains. As a soon to be graduate from Salve Regina University (Newport, RI) majoring in Administration of Justice I clearly see the effects of my PAL experience on every aspect of my life. To say that PAL shaped my interest in my academic major would be an understatement, and I would be remiss if I did not cite the Youth Leadership and Directors Councils as the primary precursors to my participation and success within Salve's student government of which I am currently the President. Looking back, the Marathon Running program has given me the stamina to thrive in life after PAL both physically and mentally-- after running a marathon long days of meetings suddenly seem far less difficult. The opportunities afford me because of PAL’s programs continue to serve me well. I firmly believe that PAL will always have a place in my life, and I’ve already experienced the impact of my time with PAL time and again. - Jivanto Van Hemert - Santa Monica PAL (3/25/14)