Harlem Youngsters Showcase Hope In Winning Poems And Artwork In PAL 2021 Poetry Anthology

May 21, 2021

The Police Athletic League (PAL) held its annual Poetry Writing Contest with participants from the citywide PAL After-School Program.

Young poets and artists showcased their winning poems and art digitally in the PAL 2021 Poetry Anthology.

In this time of social distancing and virtual learning, PAL recognizes the important role art plays in bringing youngsters together.

“We feel fortunate that our young participants were able to create anything of beauty this year. Their resilience and energy inspired our staff, reminding us of the key role our programs play in creating safe spaces for learning and the arts,” said Dana Wheeler, PAL’s Director of Education and Program Development.

Each year, young people from PAL After-School programs representing different cultural backgrounds, age groups, and New York City neighborhoods, share and express themselves through poetry.

They skillfully use language to produce writing that resonates with them.

Placing an emphasis on creativity and imagination, the annual Anthology acknowledges the talent of children from PAL centers citywide.

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The original poetry in the anthology featured PAL Harlem Center students including Elhadji, 3rd Grade; Ava, Kindergarten; Anthony, 1st Grade, along with Thesun, 7th Grade, PAL Polo Grounds Cornerstone.

Anthology artwork by Harlem students included Jacob, 6th Grade, PAL Polo Grounds Cornerstone; Jadel, 8th Grade, PAL Polo Grounds Cornerstone, and Madyson, 4th Grade, PAL Harlem Center.

Elhadji, 3rd Grade, PAL Harlem Center:

Throw pitch hit run catch
I run as fast as I can
I made a home run”

Ava, Kindergarten, PAL Harlem Center:

Hair rises when I’m surprised
Excited when I’m surprised
Excited for my birthday
My mom and dad surprise me for my birthday
My eyes widen when I’m surprised!”

Anthony, 1st Grade, PAL Harlem Center:

“Anything is Possible
Never is not a word
Teaching is my style
You can do anything.”

Thesun, 7th Grade, PAL Polo Grounds Cornerstone:

“Passionate and enthusiastic
Open minded and open hearted
Encouraging others to do the right things
To better others and community
Realize your worth and value
Your amazing the way you are”

The 2021 PAL Poetry Anthology is made possible by the generous support of The William Talbott Hillman Foundation, The Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, and DYCD, as well as other generous individuals.

New York City’s Police Athletic League is the first and finest civilian-run PAL in the country. Founded in 1914, PAL has served the city’s young people for over 100 years.

Related: Check out other PAL Harlem Center League information here.

PAL provides recreational, educational, cultural, and social activities to 20,000 boys and girls annually. It is also the city’s largest, independent, nonprofit youth organization.

For more information, please visit www.palnyc.org

Photo credit: 1) Manhattan, Madyson at Harlem Center in the 4th Grade. 2) Manhattan, Jacob at Polo Grounds Cornerstone, 6th Grade. 3) Manhattan Jadel, Polo Grounds Cornerstone, 8th Grade. Courtesy of Police Athletic League

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