By: Sandy Harris, Senior Development Coordinator and Auction Manager
I don’t want to date myself, but today I think I will as I reflect on my dear friend Sally Berlin and what she meant to me.
I remember going to the placement office at Peirce Jr. College and looking at the job board. There on the board, on a 3×5 card, was a listing for a job with the Police Athletic League, a telephone number, and a name: Sally Berlin. Not knowing much about the organization then, I thought to myself, “how hard could it be working at an athletic club for police officers?”
You can imagine my surprise when I showed up at 4th and Market Streets and walked inside of Continental Bank (where PAL’s Development and Communications team was housed) and asked for Sally Berlin. I was escorted to a small section in the back of the bank and there was Sally, small in stature, but spirited and kind. I can recall Sally sitting me at a desk with a typewriter, handing me a letter, and asking me to type. That was my interview – she took the letter and said she would get back to me. By the time I got home several hours later, my mother said “some lady named Sally Berlin called and she said you got the job.” Later, I found out I got the job because I typed the letter with no mistakes – a skill Sally found to be invaluable.
That was my first experience with Sally. When I started working at PAL, there was a very small, but dedicated staff. Because of Sally, I was able to see firsthand what multitasking meant. Sally could promote PAL, fundraise, and recruit new Board members with great ease. She was connected to everyone, and she built lasting relationships with Philadelphia’s business, civic, and philanthropic leaders.
Working with Sally and getting to know her is something that I will always treasure. I learned so much from seeing her in action. If she called you in regard to a donation and you didn’t call her back, you can bet she would persistently call you until you told her when she could expect the check. She never took no for an answer and knew how to make everyone she talked to feel special.
Sally cared about the youth of Philadelphia and wanted to make sure that they had a safe place to go after school. She would do whatever she could for PAL and would tell anyone who would listen about the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia. It was her passion.
I feel it is an honor and a privilege to have worked with Sally Berlin, and to call her my friend.
New Kings of PAL Chess Crowned on Penn’s Campus
More than 120 PAL members from various Philadelphia neighborhoods competed to be crowned the King or Queen of this year’s Citywide Chess Tournament sponsored by Anne and Andrew Abel. The final night of competition was held at University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium on October 2nd.
The children and teens played in two regional tournaments before advancing to the finals. Beyond the thrill of mental competition, the youngsters met and played against other PAL members while exercising strategy, discipline and reason.
PAL congratulates the winners in each age group: Saron from Logan PAL (12-and-Under), John from Rizzo PAL (15-and-Under), and Terry from Gibbons PAL (18-and-Under). All participants were commended for their hard work and dedication and received a medal and new chess set to commemorate the close of this year’s chess season.
PAL thanks Anne and Andrew Abel for their generosity and support of such rewarding and educational programming.
To see more photos from the tournament, visit PAL’s Flickr.
On September 20, 2014, the Temple Owls took on Delaware State at Lincoln Financial Field. Aside from Temple’s whopping 59-0 win, there was tons of excitement at the game that day – PAL Board Member Athole G Jacobi, M.D. hosted the 11th annual PAL Day at Temple Football.
PAL Day at Temple Football, which allows nearly 40 PAL kids from Philadelphia’s inner-city communities to attend a collegiate football game, is one of PAL’s most exciting events of the year. Prior to the start of the game, PAL kids and teens lined the field and greeted the hometown Owls with high-fives as they ran out from the tunnel and onto the field. Children especially enjoyed getting to interact with the players during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Kids were then invited into the stands where they watched the Owls in action.
During the third quarter, Dr. Jacobi and leadership from PAL and Temple University took the field for a special check presentation ceremony. Dr. Jacobi presented a generous $15,000 gift to PAL in honor of PAL’s mission of “Cops Helping Kids.” Dr. Jacobi’s generosity will support the needs of thousands of children and teens through PAL’s educational, athletic, and mentoring programs throughout Philadelphia.
PAL thanks Dr. Jacobi and Temple University for their continued support. This longstanding partnership has benefited thousands of kids.
PAL Soars into Lincoln Financial Field; Partners with Coca-Cola and Eagles to Teach Kids about Healthy Living
On Monday, September 29, dozens of PAL kids participated in Coca-Cola’s Get the Ball Rolling initiative at The Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field.
Coca-Cola and the Philadelphia Eagles teamed up to host a youth football clinic that introduced inner-city kids to active and healthy lifestyles, fitness, and nutrition.
This football-themed event provided an opportunity for boys and girls from PAL to take part in activities on the same field that their hometown Eagles play on! Kids participated in drills that allowed them to stay physically active, learn football techniques, catch touchdowns, and play where the pros do.
During the event, excited children were able to interact with Eagles’ Punter Donnie Jones, spend time with everyone’s favorite mascot, Swoop, and enjoy meeting the Eagles Cheerleaders.
Participants were also treated to a special VIP dinner where they heard from a nutritionist and Eagles’ Linebacker Emmanuel Acho.
PAL thanks Coca-Cola and the Philadelphia Eagles for providing our PAL kids with a thrilling and insightful experience.
PAL Kids are Ready for a New School Year
On September 10th more than 50 Harrowgate PAL youngsters celebrated the start of a new school year. Youngsters heard about the importance of staying in school and getting an education before receiving healthy snacks provided by Wawa.
Led by Adam Schall, The Friends of PAL volunteer group organized activities and collected funds to outfit each child with a new book bag filled with school supplies. This philanthropic group donates their time to Harrowgate PAL weekly during the school year to assist the children with homework, one-on-one literacy and math tutoring and play fun games.
Additionally, PAL distributed 400 book bags packed with school supplies to all centers in its network. Thanks to our generous supporters, PAL centers are stocked throughout the year with supplies to help young students complete their assignments during daily Homework Club.
PAL thanks Adam Schall and volunteers for their commitment to the success and livelihood of Harrowgate PAL members, and to all partners who support educational initiatives.
Tacony PAL Youngsters Stayed Active through Spring and Summer
Guest Blogger: Tacony PAL Center Director P/O Bill Schneider
Kids at Tacony PAL have been busier than ever that past several months. Spring programming started with a 12-and-Under basketball league which hosted 120 boys and girls. After many practices and head-to-head games, players received a trophy or medal for their participation and dedication to their team.
On June 1st, a friend of PAL arranged for members of Tacony PAL to spend an afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Attendees took swings in the cages during batting practice, worked with Phillies coaches to hone their fielding skills, and were even treated to the Phillies game against the New York Mets.
Tacony youngsters were excited to meet PAL members from across the City through PAL’s summer programs with Kids on the Hill golf and Legacy Youth tennis. Golfers enjoyed a junior golf classic and week-long golf camp at the end of the season. We also had a great time learning about butterflies at the Academy of Natural Science by Drexel University during the Wawa Welcome America celebrations.
Summer programs came to an end with the annual Tacony PAL Camp. More than 50 kids participated in tons of activities and contests during the week of August 18th. They did arts and crafts, played flag football and wiffleball and went on several day trips to Pennypack Environmental Center, Smith Memorial Playground and more. They heard from guest speaker, former Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Mike Reichenbach who encouraged the kids to stay involved at PAL and signed autographs. They also met with Todd Pride from the Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers and Outdoors Program who taught them fishing techniques as they competed for new equipment prizes. Campers spent a day with Phil McGurk at Liberty Bell Bicycles where they learned about bike parts and practiced repairing flat tires. They enjoyed water ice after a day of working hard on their bikes.
PAL thanks everyone who helped make spring and summer at Tacony PAL one to remember, including Wawa who provided lunch for all campers.
Check out more photos of Tacony PAL’s exciting Spring and Summer here!
PAL Youngsters Very Active in Summer Programming
After months of fun in the sun with PAL’s citywide baseball, tennis and golf programs, kids had an exciting end to summer with several week-long camps and trips in August. Hundreds of youngsters across Philadelphia were engaged in positive programming and physical activities through PAL’s offerings.
The month began with a week at Junior Golf Camp. Many players honed their skills during PAL’s summer golf program with the Greater Philadelphia First Tee and Kids on the Hill. The young golfers spent camp playing at various local courses and finished with a scrimmage at Juniata Golf Club. Participants received several awards for participation and remarkable achievement. Two youngsters were even recognized for being outstanding campers and received a set of brand new golf clubs and a bag.
August continued with Girls Basketball Camp. More than 60 young ladies filled the gym at Harrowgate PAL to practice drills and teamwork on and off the court. Participants were coached by PAL Officers, Sergeants and female college basketball players. The girls received trophies and plaques for great effort and sportsmanship during a ceremony on Friday, August 22nd.
Leading up to the unofficial end of summer, youngsters enjoyed a day at Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom with their friends and PAL Officers.
PAL thanks all volunteers and participants for another great summer of positive programming for Philadelphia youth.