Church has space for PAL center

A new PAL cen­ter is ex­pec­ted to open in the North­east be­fore the school year be­gins.

The Po­lice Ath­let­ic League will use the gym and classrooms at Glad­ing Me­mori­al Pres­by­teri­an Church on Chel­ten­ham Av­en­ue in Ox­ford Circle, said Capt. Mi­chael Mc­Car­rick, the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict’s com­mand­er.

Some paint­ing has been done, and re­pair work has been star­ted to get the prop­erty ready for young­sters who want to par­ti­cip­ate in PAL pro­grams. Mike Ragucci, a North­east res­id­ent, will be the of­ficer in charge of the new cen­ter, said PAL’s com­mand­ing of­ficer, Lt. Bry­an An­thony. 

PAL cen­ters are avail­able to young­sters, ages 6 to 18, from right after school dis­missal un­til 9 p.m., Mondays through Fri­days, dur­ing the school year. The cen­ters are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. dur­ing breaks and in the sum­mer.

A large per­cent­age of neigh­bor­hood crime in­volves ju­ven­iles as per­pet­rat­ors and vic­tims, Mc­Car­rick said.

“PAL provides a haven for kids look­ing for a safe en­vir­on­ment,” the cap­tain said.

Con­sist­ently safe, stressed PAL’s Sgt. Eric Ervin. “All the cen­ters are clean, safe places,” he said.

All kids — boys and girls — are ac­cep­ted, wheth­er they are ath­let­ic­ally in­clined or not, Ervin said. Bas­ket­ball is big at PAL, he said, but there also are home­work clubs, com­puter labs and chess clubs. Kids are in­tro­duced to hockey, soc­cer and even horse­back rid­ing.

Ervin said cen­ters have ment­or­ing pro­grams that aim to show boys and girls how to be young men and young wo­men.

Mc­Car­rick said the idea for get­ting a new PAL cen­ter in the North­east evolved quickly from a dis­cus­sion among po­lice com­mand­ers in Janu­ary. He said Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey ap­proved of the idea. The cap­tain then said the ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­ity had to be found. Glad­ing was a good can­did­ate, he said, be­cause it had a gym and the classroom space that PAL re­quired. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or

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