Detroit, MI (CBS Detroit) – In 1969, Detroit’s Police Athletic League was founded. Led by many of the biggest names in Detroit sports, it gave children an opportunity to learn through athletics and develop the confidence and motivation to go far in life.

In 1996, two young lawyers, Mike Tenbusch, and Dan Varner founded Think Detroit. Designed as an alternative to Detroit’s existing youth sports leagues, Think Detroit quickly drew children to its leagues. Realizing that together they could best serve Detroit’s youth population, the two leagues merged in 2006 to create Detroit PAL. With year-round programs that star more than 14,000 young athletes and thousands of coaches, Detroit PAL helps its athletes learn the skills needed to succeed both on and off the field.

“Detroit PAL has been around for 50 years and what we do is we connect the community to the resources,” explains Robert Jamerson, Interim CEO, Detroit PAL.  ‘We help kids find their greatness through sports, but underneath all that is the foundational skill set that we help them to learn that help them to one day become employable entrepreneurs or just successful people in life.”

Since 1969, PAL has served hundreds of thousands of young people through a variety of athletic, academic, and leadership development programs. Last year alone, each PAL kid spent an average of 65 hours in one or more of PAL’s programs developing the lifelong character building skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, discipline, and perseverance.

“PAL is generational,” adds Jamerson. You have people whose Grandfather or their Grandmother played in PAL, and they’re affiliated with organizations that are within the PAL structure, and so they come back, whether they move out of town or come back into Detroit. So it’s a great place to be where you truly get to see the village impact, meaning that everybody plays a role in helping these kids become the best that they can be.”

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