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Counting down, 3-2-1

The clock is ticking as Beaverton PAL nears an Oct. 2 opening
by: Jonathan House, READY TO BEGIN — The Beaverton Police Activities League’s leadership team of Jocelyn Taylor, Emily Krehlik, Maura Cioeta and Sean Belveal (from left) are eager for the return of youth to the Beaverton Resource Center’s PAL Clubhouse.

It's crunch time for the Beaverton Police Activities League.

Preparations are under way to reopen the PAL Clubhouse for its popular after-school programs Oct. 2 in the Beaverton Resource Center.

Planned programs include the return of Homework Club, robotics, boxing, girls and boys groups, dance classes, arts and crafts and other recreation activities.

'We're keeping busy at this point trying to get everything ready for the kids,' said Sean Belveal, program coordinator for the Beaverton clubhouse.

'We have a lot of stuff to do in the next couple weeks, from cleaning to getting the rooms ready to organizing the programs,' added Jocelyn Taylor, who shares program coordinator duties with Belveal.

Both are looking forward to the building being filled with students ranging in age from 8 to 18.

'All of the PAL kids that were with us this summer know that we're opening in October,' Taylor said. 'Others check in every day. When we open, the kids will know - trust me. Word of mouth spreads quickly around here.'

Beaverton PAL is now operating under the umbrella of the Police Activities League of Greater Portland under the direction of Executive Director Maura Cioeta.

With its new name, the program got a fresh start by kicking off a summer day camp and drop-in program from June 19 through Aug. 11.

'Our plan was to use the summer activities as a test to see about moving forward with the program,' Cioeta said. 'We had a fabulously successful summer with a strong enrollment that demonstrated a clear need.

'There was some transitioning because we run things differently. Overall, it was a very exciting time, and our staff did a great job in programming as much as possible.'

In the months since the previous Westside Police Activities League's after-school program was suspended in Beaverton due to lack of funding, the board has worked closely with the city, Beaverton Police Department, Washington County Commission on Children and Family, Beaverton Together and the Police Activities League of Greater Portland to find a way to reopen the doors.

At the same time, the Greater Portland PAL was working to kick-start summer programs in Beaverton, it also was working with the Westside PAL board to chip away at its remaining debt of $30,000.

'The Westside PAL is still in limbo,' Cioeta said. 'We're still working with them on their outstanding debt and the dissolution of the organization as a nonprofit.

'We want to help make sure that they find a positive resolution to that debt, but it takes a while for all that to happen. In the meantime, we're doing business as Beaverton PAL.'

Cioeta and the Beaverton leadership team are also working to reopen the Intel Computer Clubhouse at the site.

But first they need to purchase the existing equipment from Westside PAL and find a sponsor to underwrite the $1,500 expense to send a full-time employee to the next training conference for Intel's program.

'Our goal is to work with Intel, and they in turn will bring in volunteer mentors to work with our youth,' Cioeta said.

While the details of the partnership are being hammered out, the center's two computer labs will be available to PAL members when the center opens, she added.

The new Beaverton PAL program has already received the support of the city of Beaverton and Washington County Commission on Children and Family. Both have pledged to contribute funds to benefit youth programs once the center reopens.

The city will set aside $55,000 in its budget, and the commission will contribute $18,000.

Cioeta has also applied for other grants to raise a portion of the remaining $30,000 needed to run the program throughout the school year.

'We run a much leaner budget and need to bring back some sort of community fundraising event,' she said. 'We're taking a leap of faith in opening, but I feel really confident that the need is here and the funds will follow based on my experience and 14-year track record of success for the PAL program.'

One change in the way PAL does business under its new direction is the requirement for all PAL members to fill out a new membership form and pay a yearly fee of $50. A reduced $25 membership fee is also available for youth that receive free or reduced lunch. Payment plans will also be available for families that need them.

'The fee is a small price to pay for a year of activities,' Cioeta said.