This week at the 71st Annual National Police Athletic/Activities League (PAL) Training Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah Attorney General Reyes shared with a captivated audience how athletics and strong role models such as his parents helped shape his character and leadership style. AG Reyes also discussed why PAL programs are resulting in positive outcomes among at-risk communities nationwide.
“When I was young, sports such as boxing had a big influence on my life. Boxing not only trained me physically but also gave me confidence. It taught me discipline, hard work, overcoming failure and pushing myself to do hard things. My dad loved boxing and trained me before I joined a club. It was programs like PAL that helped give me a strong foundation for the future,” AG Reyes told PAL attendees.
Reyes also shared memories of his recently passed mother, Annette Reyes, a former Los Angeles-area high school principal who worked with at-risk kids at an alternative high school where she felt that impacting even one life was worth the difficulty of working among gangs, drugs and guns. Reyes likened the work of volunteer PAL directors (peace officers and civilian alike) to the public service his mother rendered, encouraging attendees to keep loving, protecting, providing stability, structure and a vision of the future to the youth they mentor in neighborhoods around the nation.
PAL is a national organization that works to prevent juvenile crime by building relationships between police and youth through recreational activities. The National PAL Training Conference began Sunday, May 17 and concludes Thursday, May 21. The conference provides classes for PAL chapters to learn skills to work with children and young adults and to discuss a number of topics, including bullying, crime prevention, youth relations and social media.
“As Utah’s Attorney General, I have deep gratitude for South Salt Lake PAL and the many other dedicated members of local and national PAL chapters for offering such positive outlets for our youth, particularly those in communities where there may be fewer positive role models available,” said AG Reyes. “PAL is an example of the many ways law enforcement contributes to the communities they protect. It is also a tremendous model of how law enforcement can interact in a peaceful, positive and meaningful way while teaching at risk youth there are ways to succeed within the limits of the law."