Selma PAL program keeping youth busy

Published 8:46 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

Around 50 youth took part in the opening day of Selma’s Police Athletic League’s summer program. They played dodgeball, basketball and dominos while spending their day around other youth their age.

Many of those same kids will frequent the program, which combines educational enrichment with sports, for the remainder of the summer. Although it doesn’t always get a lot of attention, the program is making a real difference on the streets of Selma.

Seemingly every summer, there’s talk about how the juvenile crime rate spikes when school is out and temperatures rise. No city is immune to that problem, including Selma, but programs such as PAL keep youth off the streets, keep them busy and give them a fun way to spend their summers.

“The main reason is that schools let out and juveniles are wandering around, trying to figure out what to do and their attention turns to illegal activities,” said district attorney Michael Jackson in a 2014 Times-Journal story about the increased crime rate. “Even kids who normally don’t get in trouble might throw rocks to break out windows.”

Even for adults, an idle mind can lead the problems. It’s even more of a problem in youth, especially when there’s nothing to do and plenty of ways to get into trouble.

Thankfully, we have programs like the Selma PAL, which not only keep youth from aimlessly walking around town, but also gives them a productive way to spend their summer.