The POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE (PAL) was founded in 1956 to combat juvenile delinquency by providing Cleveland children from low- to moderate-income families with centers for organized recreational activities. The Cleveland chapter of PAL was incorporated on 28 May 1956 by patrolmen Joseph Zarlenga, Joseph Mazzarella, and Frank Shaeffer, with a board of trustees consisting of 18 police officers and 18 civilians to oversee the nonprofit organization. Although support from the community was initially slow, by PAL's second year over 300 youths were participating in activities such as baseball, basketball, and boxing. Assisted by community leaders, prominent sports figures, and volunteers, PAL expanded its youth offerings to include cooking, arts and crafts, table games, weightlifting, football, bowling, and special outings for over 5,000 members ages 8-18. The league also undertook personal counseling, made referrals to existing community programs, and sought to establish links between the juvenile court, the Police Dept., and other social-service agencies. Cleveland PAL was strengthened under the leadership of Frederick J. Stauffer, appointed director in 1968, and Lt. Geo. Trammell, PAL's president in 1969. Stauffer helped the Cleveland league become affiliated with the Natl. Police Conference on PAL & Youth Activities in 1966.

The first PAL center was located at 8119 Wade Park Ave.; however, since its founding the number of centers has fluctuated depending on available funding. In 1995 PAL operated 2 outreach centers which offered programs to youngsters throughout the city. Since 1994 PAL was headquartered at 6304 Broadway. The executive director was Gerald D. Pawlowski. In 1994 PAL was honored with a Mayor's Community Service award.

Article Categories