Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 22, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Niagara PAL in need of support

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Niagara PAL is the only organization that recognizes outstanding students each year, and has for more than 30 years, in a variety of activities. Sports Awards honors the best male and female high school athletes of the year, along with any outstanding individual or team accomplishments, i.e. a state championship. The Students of Excellence recognizes achievements in scholarship, leadership and service. The Fine Arts Awards are given in 2D, 3D art, and digital art and theater, vocal and instrumental music.

Niagara PAL’s history has been one of quality programs for the entire youth community since 1967, it is estimated that in the 40-plus years more then 500,000 youth have participated in PAL programs and between 8,000 and 10,000 volunteers have contributed in excess of 400,000 hours during that time.

Niagara PAL has been referred to as the “Renaissance Agency of Youth Agencies.” PAL has been able to do more with less by sharing resources, by keeping expenses, especially administrative, costs to a minimum, PAL’s admin costs are less than 15 percent. PAL depends on the community for support, individual contributions, business donations, events like the Telethon and Four Mile Run, the Great Niagara Steakout & Golf Outing. But it is all becoming more difficult as the economy fails to improve, organizations needs become increasingly greater and contribution dollars less, the decision on the part of the person or company writing the check, much more difficult!

Forty years from now Niagara PAL will hopefully still be providing quality programs for youth, it is not invincible, New York City PAL, where it all started, has been in existence for almost 100 years, but it will depend on a number of factors the most important, continued and sustained funding.

For the first time in its history, Niagara PAL had to cut some programs due to a lack of funding — after cutting expenses and overhead, a difficult, but necessary decision. PAL has also used what cash reserves that existed to keep from cutting additional programs.

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