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Police Athletic League at V.I. renovation

April 18, 2012

by Keiko Mimuro

Ricchiuti presenting about Albany Police League/ Keiko Mimuro

The renovation project for the Police Athletic League at the 844 Madison Ave. location in the VI Community Center is making headway. The first phase of the three-phase project, which is just beginning, coincides with PALs 24th anniversary.

“We have been putting about $300,000 in to the building and it has not had any work in 40 years,” said Lenny Ricchiuti, executive director of the Albany Police Athletic League .

Ricchiutti shared an update of the renovation at the meeting of the Committee on University and Community Relations Wednesday evening.

PAL just reached agreement with the city  to remain at the VI Community Center for the next 30 years.

“Over the past 24 years we have been existed with the police department and outside the police department,” said Ricchiuti. “Depending on the cycle and economics of the time and also depending on how much support we can get.”

However, now 85 % of the Albany Police Athletic league program funding comes from the private sector. The Albany Police Athletic league has not experienced any problem in reducing programming because of the funding it gets.

“We are very fortunate and blessed because we have a luxury of having such strong support of the private the sector,” said Ricchiuti. “We operate on $750,000 budget plus or minus.”

The mission of the Albany Police Athletic League is to prevent children from committing juvenile crimes and to promote wellness among children incorporated with the police department and neighborhood. It offers after school programs,  and educational programs. Even though PAL has only four employees, it serves 3,000 children annually in the city and operates programs in 15 different locations throughout the city. Its programs were supported and operated by number of part timers and volunteers.

“We have a number of students from The College of Saint Rose, SUNY Albany, and Hudson Valley Community College,” said Ricchiuti. “That is why we are able to do as much as we do.”

Melissa Louis, Program Coordinator of Albany Police Athletic League, doing educational trivia with children/Keiko Mimuro

He remembers one male student from SUNY Albany who was sent to PAL to do community service. The student was arrested for urinating outside and he participated in community service through the Albany Police Athletic League. He is now 27 years old and works on Wall Street.

“During the Christmas time he came to visit and made a $500 donation to us,” said Ricchiuti. “He thanked us for the service that we offered to him and for helping him develop as a person.”

Projects like PAL are having an impact according to Thomas Gebhardt, director of personal safety and off-campus affairs for the University at Albany.

“I think that our neighborhood is improving because each organizations and schools corporate with each other,” Gebhardt said. -30-



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