More than 2,000 children and young people from 51 education center in 85 communities will benefit from the implementation of the Police Athletic League (PAL) program in Sonsonate. The program was inaugurated at the Ana Mercedes Campos Stadium.
The Police Athletic Leagues allow the creation of recreational spaces for children and young people to participate in tournaments of different sports disciplines such as soccer, basketball, swimming; school activities, art and violence prevention talks.
The program began in 2012 as a pilot program in Santa Ana with approximately 500 kids and young people. Due to its success in providing opportunities for at-risk youth to positively engage with National Civilian Police (PNC) Officers through sports programming, the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) awarded a grant to Fundación Patria Unida to institutionalize the program with the PNC and expand PAL to other locations.
INL has invested $2 million for PAL in El Salvador, allowing the program to expand to Santa Ana, Ahuachapán, Ciudad Delgado, Usulután Center and North, Zacatecoluca, La Herradura de La Paz, Lourdes Colón, San Salvador, Apopa, Soyapango, and now Sonsonate.
The event was headed by the Vice Minister of Social Prevention Luis Roberto Flores, the Chief of the Delegation of Sonsonate Marco Tulio Lima, the Chief of the Prevention Division Jaime Chinchilla, U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Mark Johnson; the Mayor of Sonsonate, Roberto Aquino; and the Director of Patria Unida Foundation, Antonina Cuesta,
At the event Mark Johnson said: “The success of this program depends on you and your commitment to focus your energy to work together for the same goal. Dare to be a part of our team, building a better future for El Salvador.” Also, the U.S. official acknowledged the work of each of the police officers who give their time and talent to the youth participating in the program.The Chief of the Delegation of Sonsonate Marco Tulio Lima said: “Our main goal with these programs is that we can prevent children and young people from getting involved in activities that damage their emotional development.”