Dunn Police Athletic League: A Chance to Engage in Positive After-School Activities

Dunn Police Athletic League (Dunn PAL) stands out in the crowd of the many local police benevolent societies for youth that apply to our small grant program. While the majority of these nonprofits are doing good work for the youth of their community, Dunn PAL is doing more, with a whole slew of excellent programs to keep youth off the street. These programs set kids on the right path to success in school and in life and we were pleased to have a small role in supporting these important efforts. We spoke to Dunn PAL Volunteer/Development Coordinator Brian Allen to learn more about this work:

Kars4Kids: Can you tell us a bit about the demographic you serve?

Brian Allen: Dunn Police Athletic and Activities League serves children ages 5-18 plus. These are kids from rural North Carolina, the majority of them African-Americans, and some from single parent homes.

Kars4Kids: When and why did you decide to institute programming for the youth of your community?

Brian Allen: Dunn PAL was formed in 1995 as a way to give the youth of our community opportunities to positively engage in activities after school.

Dunn PAL food drive during coronavirus pandemic

Kars4Kids: PAL is tracking student demographics and attendance. How is this being done and why is it important?

Brian Allen: Dunn PAL uses a program called TRAKSOLUTIONS to track student demographics. We initiate monthly reports for the community and our board. We have served anywhere from 50 to 350 children, at any given point in time.

Kars4Kids: You have an after-school program in partnership with local schools. How many schools are you working with? Is the program tailored to each individual student? What happens in this program in the hours after school?

Brian Allen: We work with Harnett County Schools, more specifically Dunn Middle, Harnett Primary, and Wayne Avenue, all within 5 miles of our facility. Our after school programming includes tutoring, SAT preparation, career readiness, STEM enrichment, and athletics. The students are paired with mentors for this purpose.

Dunn PAL youth distribute food during COVID-19 pandemic

Kars4Kids: What can you tell us about your P2P program?

Brian Allen: This is our SAT preparation class and compliments our career readiness classes because we teach youth about alcohol prevention, dining etiquette, dress etiquette, and social cues and skills.

Kars4Kids: You have a Career Readiness Program that sounds pretty rigorous. How many children sign on for this program and how does it work?

Brian Allen: Our career readiness program is a new initiative that we implemented during the fiscal year 2019-2020. This program is a way to engage our middle and high school youth to teach them about different career trades. Some of them will not be able to attend college due to grades and/or finances, so this is a way to keep them near home and working in industry. These include HVAC, mechanics, graphic arts, furniture repair, welding, and more. Right now, we have 15 young people participating.

Kars4Kids: Your media arts program seems particularly comprehensive and appears to run on three tracks. Can you talk a bit about this program?

Brian Allen: Our media arts engages the youth we serve that have an interest in broadcast production, audio technology, and print media. They produce their own media show.

Kars4Kids: How has COVID-19 impacted your work with the youth of your community?

Brian Allen: COVID -19 has allowed us to serve our community in other ways. For example, we implemented a community feeding program. We have served and delivered nearly 12,000 meals to those in need.

Dunn PAL food drive

Kars4Kids: What’s next for Dunn PAL?

Brian Allen: Dunn PAL has purchased a new campus facility to allow us to continue to grow. We are exploring new athletic programs and looking at opportunities to serve children of preschool age.