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COMMUNITY

A TEAM EFFORT

Escondido Police Athletic League Strengthens Community with Sports

L

Article by Whitney Butler t. Al Owens of the Escondido Police Department remembers

many of whom are at risk of developing gang affiliations – some,

his mother’s charity as a young boy. Even when she had

a high risk of family violence.

little to give her own children, she remained steadfast in her

“Many of these children can’t afford athletics programs or other

faith, preached blessings, and put a little less on her family’s

paid recreation,” said Lt. Owens. “I know what that’s like. My dad

plate to make sure the neighbor’s children didn’t go hungry. These are the lessons Lt. Owens calls upon today, remembering what it was like to grow up in the projects of Utica, New York

wasn’t around much when I was a kid.” Currently, PAL provides baseball, basketball, football and soccer sports opportunities at no cost to low-income children. In

Lt. Owens left New York and joined the military, which after four

addition, PAL assists with uniforms and equipment, facility costs

years of service brought him west to San Diego, where he joined

and referee fees. Many of the programs are headquartered at

the Escondido Police Department in 1996. He has served the city

the East Valley Community Center, where both boys and girls are

for more than 20 years, and still reflects on his mother’s teachings.

learning important life skills through team athletics.

In addition to his regular police work, Owens heads the Escondido

Getting kids off the street and onto the field is no small task,

chapter of the Police Athletic League (PAL) where he has donated

but it’s an opportunity the North San Diego County Realtors

countless hours to improve the relationship between Escondido’s

Professional Group (NSDCRPG) saw great potential in, as they

youth and police force, through various athletic initiatives.

looked for a way to improve Escondido’s future by helping the

“I’ve always told the kids,” said Lt. Owens, “‘if you want my help, I’ll give it to you.’” Help in Lt. Owens’ youth took the form of team sports. In particular, he excelled at football. Using sports and athletics

children in need today. Escondido realtor Tom Stamos is a member of NSDCRPG and has participated in fundraising events benefiting local youth programs for fifteen years.

programs funded by PAL, Lt. Owens and his volunteers introduce

“When the DARE program was no longer offered,” said Stamos,

a sense of belonging and commitment into the lives of children,

“we searched for a new way to improve our communities and continued on page 13

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The Escondido Magazine 2015 Summer - Water Issue  

2015 “Water Issue” Escondido Magazine has many stories about the current water situation in San Diego. Here is one of the featured stories...

The Escondido Magazine 2015 Summer - Water Issue  

2015 “Water Issue” Escondido Magazine has many stories about the current water situation in San Diego. Here is one of the featured stories...

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