Ernie Rehr said he has a very large family.
That family isn’t just made up of his wife and two kids, he said, but of the thousands of Port Richmond kids he’s worked with coaching golf, wrestling, bowling, basketball and more.
“I’ve been to lots of weddings and communions,” he said with a laugh as he thought back on all the events he’s been invited to by his “PAL kids.”
Now in his 22nd year of work at the PAL, Rehr discussed all the activities the center offers to the neighborhood, like a girls’ positive image program, an after-school homework program, karaoke nights, self-defense classes and community service opportunities.
“School, PAL, church, we all have a part in kids’ upbringing,” Rehr said, adding that parents are an enormously important part of the PAL’s success, and thanked them for making PAL of part of their kids’ lives.
He added that his philosophy is that empowering children leads to endless possibilities.
Rehr would know—the recreation room at the PAL is filled with trophies and banners celebrating the wins of the various teams and groups to which Rehr dedicates his time.
He said the work keeps him young.
“I know in my heart I’m helping to develop better citizens for Philadelphia, and the country,” he said.
Visit the Philadelphia Police Athletic League online at phillypal.com, and call the Rizzo PAL at 215-426-6583.
Runner Up: Pat Cain, soccer coach at the Fishtown Athletic Club, www.fishtownac.com