In a colorful and festive atmosphere, the Embassy of the United States, the National Civilian Police and the “Patria Unida” Foundation launched on September 2nd, the Police Athletic League National Tournament “Heroes of El Salvador” at the Estadio Delicias, Santa Tecla.
The champions of each of the Police Athletic Leagues (PAL) from Santa Ana, Lourdes-Colón, Usulutan, Ciudad Delgado, Herradura de La Paz, Zacatecoluca and Ahuachapán met in a championship from which a team will be crown national champion. The decisive games will be played at a later date, as the rain did not allow celebrate the final in early September.
So far, more than three thousand children and youth from at risk communities participate in the LAP program and have access to practice sports disciplines such as football, basketball, swimming, tennis and others. The program originated in Santa Ana in 2012.
In her remarks, Ambassador Manes Ambassador urged young people who are part of the LAP to stay away from gangs. “For many of the young people who are here today, the biggest game of their lives is the struggle to stay away from criminal groups, and to seek a positive future that gives them opportunities.”
She also motivated them to use the talents and skills learned in the League to contribute to the future of El Salvador. “With the skills, knowledge and values learned in the Athletic League, you are prepared to be leaders and positive role models. Do not forget that the future of El Salvador depends on you”, she added.
The program involves the creation or adaptation of recreational spaces for children and youth. In these areas they practice different sports, educational and artistic activities are performed and PNC agents provide violence prevention talks and personal development.
Besides Ambassador Jean Manes, the Vice President of the Republic, Oscar Ortiz, the Minister of Justice and Public Security, Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, the Director of the PNC, Howard Cotto, and the Mayor of Santa Tecla, Roberto D’Aubuisson, were also present at the ceremony.