City of Redwood City Community Partnerships Series: Police Activities League

Redwood City’s mission is to ‘Build a Great Community Together’ and our community partners help us to do just that!

This blog series celebrates Redwood City’s community partners and showcases non-profits, agencies, and private partners that the City collaborates with to make Redwood City a great place to live, work, visit, and play.

This blog features the Police Activities League (PAL). PAL joins police professionals and community members to provide school-age children, and their families, access to academic support, life skills and personal development activities, with a focus on producing successful opportunities for underrepresented and under-served communities throughout Redwood City.

PAL began in 1995 as an initiative of the Redwood City Police Department with the support of the City of Redwood City. In its early beginnings, the initiative offered sports programs to children to keep them engaged, outside of school. Eventually, a summer camp was added to provide a safety net during summer break, as well as field trips, beginning the transition away from athletics and focusing on activities that support social development. Today, as the Police Activities League, PAL provides the Redwood City community with over 20 different cultural activities and programs including digital literacy, leadership, educational enhancement, mentoring, and fitness and nutritional workshops. Redwood City PAL annually serves 400 children; and since it began, it has served a total of 15,000 children and youth.

With new programs and a new vision, leading to the re-branding of the organization, PAL seeks to tell a new story about its mission.

The updated logo, which still showcases the police star/badge at the bottom, signifies the historical foundation of this organization.

PAL’s driving mission is to provide successful opportunities for underrepresented and under-served communities throughout Redwood City. PAL is dedicated and focused on being nurturing, caring, dynamic, and innovative with every approach to its programs.

Redwood City Police Department Cadet Program

The Redwood City Police Department enjoys a partnership with Redwood City PAL to offer the Cadet Program. The Redwood City Police Cadet Program has a long and well-established history of offering valuable insights to local teens (ages 14–17) as they explore the vocation of law enforcement.

The program seeks to strengthen relationships between Redwood City youth and the Police Department. It also strives to provide participants with direction and guidance to prepare for the responsibilities of becoming a successful adult.

Cadets assist with all of Redwood City’s major activities, including the annual 4th of July Parade and fireworks display, the yearly holiday toy drive, and numerous other community events. In addition to their volunteer efforts, they train year-round for the annual State Explorer Competition, where the team competes against groups from around the State in various police-related and leadership exercises. In recent years, the Cadet Program has grown into an award-winning group, gaining regional acknowledgments for their performance. Redwood City cadets, both young men and women, have sought careers in police work.

If you are interested in registering for this program, please email Officer Shrum at dschrum@redwoodcity.org

Tattoo Removal Program

The Redwood City Police Department works collaboratively with Redwood City PAL and other local law enforcement agencies to provide the Tattoo Removal Program. This program was created to assist reformed gang members who wished to remove the signs, markings, and stigma of past gang affiliation. The program has also expanded to include those who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence. Removing these types of tattoos increases self-esteem in addition to creating better opportunities in education and employment. The program targets individuals who are interested in making positive changes in their lives and who have renounced gang affiliation.

The program offers San Mateo County residents, ages 10 and up, tattoo removal treatments at no cost. In return, those individuals are required to perform volunteer community service hours and attend either school or work. In addition, they must have a commitment to become involved in supervised education, employment, and community service activities and mentoring.

To make an appointment or to obtain more information, please contact Manuel Velarde at mvelarde@redwoodcity.org.

Holiday Toy Drive

Spearheaded by the Redwood City Police and Fire Departments, and supported by PAL, the holiday toy drive is an unforgettable holiday experience that provides children from low-income families with Christmas gifts delivered by Santa and his elves. Each child served receives two gifts, a book, a stuffed animal, and several stocking stuffers, all of which bring that holiday sparkle to their eyes. Last year, over 75 local businesses filled 100 donation barrels with over 12,000 toys and books and provided them to about 500 needy families in Redwood City and San Mateo County. With the help from the Fair Oaks Community Center and volunteers, this annual event has become a welcome tradition in the Redwood City community.

If you would like to learn more about the holiday toy and book drive, go here.

Junior Giants Baseball Camp

Junior Giants Baseball Camp is a program of the Giants Community Fund. Established in 1994, the program now annually serves over 25,000 participants in 90 leagues, including a league in Redwood City!

The camp is a free, non-competitive, and innovative baseball program held at the Redwood City PAL community center for boys and girls ages 5–14. Children not only learn the fundamentals of baseball, but also, confidence, integrity, leadership, and teamwork.

The Redwood City league is co-sponsored by PAL and the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department. To learn more about this program go here.

Youth After School Program

The PAL After School Program seeks to make a positive difference in the academic success and development of elementary school aged children. The program utilizes professional staff, small group instruction, a safe, adult supervised environment, parental involvement, and a strong collaboration with local schools and the community to achieve this goal.

Students receive homework help, recreational, artistic, and cultural enrichment activities through the help of a mentor who is an active or retired law enforcement officer, as well as other volunteers.

This program is funded in part by the Redwood City Police Department.

To learn more, go here.

PAL Music Festival

PAL’s biggest summer event brings the community a day of fun, music, and BBQ! With the help of the Redwood City Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, this event is an annual success. Proceeds from this fun and exciting family festival directly benefit the important youth programs of Redwood City PAL. The music festival is free to attend in Courthouse Square and will take place this year on July 28, 12–8 p.m. Food, craft vendors and more will be available throughout the day. This event will also include ART on the Square. To learn more about this event, go here.

PAL VIP Night at the Zoppé Circus

Each year the Zoppé Italian Family Circus comes to Redwood City with spectacular performances featuring amazing equestrian showmanship, daring acrobatics, canine capers and Nino the Clown.

This year, Redwood City PAL joins with the Redwood City Police Department to offer a private preview dinner show! This VIP event will offer cocktail hour, dinner, and a silent auction before the show begins. This is guaranteed to be a night full of entertainment, fun, good food, and laughs! The show benefits PAL’s educational programs for under-served children in our community.

Only 100 tickets will be sold for the preview show so get your tickets today!

To learn more about the preview night event and get tickets, go here. To learn more about the circus, go here.

Learn More

To learn more about the Redwood City Police Activities League go here. To learn more about the Redwood City Police Department go here.

To read past Community Partner Series blog posts, visit the links below:

Círculo Cultural

Redwood City 2020

Cañada College

Redwood City Improvement Association (RCIA)

Organizations that support our public library