Police Activities League Honors Church as “Organization of the Year”
n an age of rising violence, activities to help youth get started on the right track in life — free from drugs and crime — deserve close support.
One such program with a proven record of accomplishment is the Police Activities League (PAL).
Founded in 1932 and sponsored locally by the Los Angeles Police Department, PAL is a nationwide organization with chapters in virtually every major U.S. city. Individual police officers form the backbone of PAL, helping children and teen-agers in both athletics and academics.
In 1995, the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International, which has for many years worked on community activities in cooperation with the Hollywood Police Support Association, heard about the pressing need for additional support for the Hollywood PAL from the LAPD officer then in charge of the program.
As the officer explained it, the Hollywood Division, together with business owners and residents, had planned a fundraiser for the PAL program. Because Celebrity Centre had been successful in raising funds for the Hollywood Division’s annual Christmas party for neighborhood children, he asked for similar help for PAL.
Following this request, Celebrity Centre helped PAL produce a fundraiser in February 1996, enlisting the participation and support of celebrities and raising more than $20,000.
Throughout the rest of 1996, Celebrity Centre sponsored a range of activities for PAL and its youth-oriented programs. This included organizing PAL’s 1996 Christmas party, funding excursions and athletic tournaments, and purchasing athletic equipment.
Early in 1997, in recognition of the Church’s continuing assistance, Hollywood PAL officers nominated Celebrity Centre as “Organization of the Year.” This annual award is presented to one group, selected from the many civic and charitable organizations and businesses throughout the state that support Police Activities League programs.
And in February, out of the many organizations and corporations nominated, the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre was selected as Organization of the Year for 1996 for “their outstanding contribution to their community through the LAPD Hollywood Police Activities League.”
The award was presented in Seaside, California, on February 26 at the annual California Police Activities League dinner, attended by some 200 representatives of PAL groups from all over the state, by Officer Willie Sera, PAL Officer for the LAPD’s Hollywood Division.
In presenting the award, Officer Sera read a letter from Captain Constance Dial, Area Commanding Officer of the Hollywood Community Police Station, and Lt. Ron Sanchez, Commanding Officer of Detectives and the Officer In-Charge of Hollywood PAL: “The donation of your personal time as well as the countless hundreds of hours volunteered by members of your staff has been of invaluable assistance to our youth programs. ... This display of enthusiasm and dedication to the young people of the community reflects the positive influence the Celebrity Centre has had for the Hollywood area.”
Charity With a Difference
PALs – known in most states as Police Athletic Leagues – sponsor national competitions for youth, providing an avenue through which aspiring athletes can enter the Olympic trials – Muhammad Ali being just one example of many whose athletic careers were launched through PAL programs.
PAL differs from other inner-city youth programs in that it is run entirely by police officers, alleviating the problem of gang infiltration that has plagued some inner-city youth centers. PAL establishes police officers as role models and friends for youth at an early age and provides an alternative to gang activities.
“The Church of Scientology considers that programs like PAL are very important for the community, and that is one reason why our members support them,” said Karen Hollander, president of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International, who accepted the award. She noted that Celebrity Centre and the PAL Board of Directors are currently helping PAL to locate and establish a youth center in Hollywood from which all of its programs can operate and expand.