How many times have you driven on Sheridan Street near Dixie Highway and noticed the playing fields for soccer and football and the large white building behind? All too few are familiar with the superb programs for youth generating from that venue. Boggs Field has a history of athletic excellence, as many years ago it served as a training field for the New York Yankees. Now, it is the home of the Hollywood PAL.
In 1990 Detective Jerry Christiansen had a vision to create a PAL and started this remarkable program out of the trunk of his car. Three years ago, he celebrated the opening of an 8,500 square foot building costing $1.3 million. His goal to give our youth a safe drug free environment for organized sports and activities became a reality. Ironically, construction of this facility was financed by law enforcement forfeiture funds, which are generated when police confiscate cash and merchandise from criminals. The ongoing fiscal responsibility is a cooperative effort funded by the Hollywood Police Department and City of Hollywood. However, the operating budget for programs is supplemented by corporate and private donations; as the yearly cost of equipment, uniforms, athletic shoes, and too many to list essentials diminish our revenue.
Our PAL has demonstrated athletic excellence with state, national and international championships to its credit. But, success does not begin and end with sports. Three years ago, the PAL started an Achievement Award program offering $500.00 scholarships to students entering college. The PAL Board recognizes its responsibility to inspire our youth and encourages academic performance as a key to success. This scholarship program is solely dependent on private donations.
Much is reported in today’s news about “kids at risk.” It is not limited to inner city disadvantaged or underprivileged children. All kids face difficult challenges at home, at school or the playing field. The Hollywood PAL is an organization that strives to help our youth meet those challenges and perform to the best of their ability. The PAL offers programs of interest in a venue that promotes positive role models, while experiencing success and/or failure on the playing field.
Too often, the small crisis in our community is overlooked. Challenges addressed at the PAL are very real and our goals are surely achievable. Our PAL kids are the proof of the benefits of this impressive facility and program.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I invite all interested in this first-rate PAL program to visit our facility. Share our enthusiasm to offer athletics, recreational and educational activities that instill positive life principles and character building tools. Your help will make a difference for our kids.