Cops and Kids

Cops and Kids
Photo Courtesy of The Police Athletic League

The artwork of six little Bronxites grace this year’s 2016 Police Athletic League Calendar.

The children being featured participated in the PAL summer day camp program, which aims to stimulate learning and foster creative thinking.

Each camp has its own curriculum focusing on specific topics such as a culture or historical subject.

This year, youngsters from PAL’s Webster-Giannone Center on Webster Avenue and PAL’s P.S. 47 Center on East 172nd Street focused on famous landmarks from all over the world and the cultures that go with them.

Kids then created performances and artwork based on what they learned.

This year’s calendar showcases the artistic talent of just a small sample of the 3,000 children who participated in PAL summer programs throughout the city.

It kicks off the year with the work of fifth grader Fanny Jimenezs who depicted Christ the Redeemer, an art deco statue located in Rio de Janeiro.

March showcases fifth grader Ashley Cabrera’s portrayal of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.

Ashley Severino, a sixth grader, created a drawing of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and Evelin Corea, a second grader, created a depiction of Moai , a group of human figures first carved by the Rapa Nui people on a Chilean island.

Fifth grader Rihanna Contreras drew our very own Statue of Liberty, and finally, second grader Janiah Thompson concludes the 2016 calendar with her picture of St. Basil’s Cathedral, an famous church in Moscow.

“We have a very strong presence in the Bronx,” said PAL executive director Frederick Watts, who was born in Edenwald and grew up in the north Bronx. “We try to give kids that may not have access to these types of enrichment programs an even playing field and I feel pretty strongly that we provide what anyone would want for their child regardless of economic resources,” he said.

The Police Athletic League was formed over 100 years ago when Police Commissioner Arthur Woods and Captain John Sweeney came up with the idea that if cops helped kids at a young age it could work as a type of prevention service so law enforcement would have better relationships with youth as the years went on.

“When I go to a ‘Cops and Kids’ event I see kids interacting with the police, playing ball, having lunch, and if I compare that to the experience of an average person in the Bronx, they do not have that…it’s a positive relationship. It’s hard to do, but we break through in small ways,” said Watts.

PAL provides fun and educational services to 35,000 children each year. It is the largest independent nonprofit youth organization the city.