Twality Middle School is the site for this year's activities, which are supported by Tigard police
by: Jonathan House, CALLING FOR CANDY — Middle school students attending the Police Activities League kick-off raise their hands and shout out for candy during a presentation Monday. Hundreds of students showed up to learn about the program.

TIGARD - The Tigard-area Police Activities League got off to an exciting start this school year.

Members of the Tigard Police Department spent the past several months coming up with ideas to bring renewed interest and energy to the after-school program, according to Jim Wolf, public information officer.

P.A.L. initially was a police-sponsored partnership involving law enforcement working to provide a safe environment and structured programs to primarily help inner city youth.

'The program has branched out over the past decade and now is heavily involved in the suburbs where potential problems with unsupervised or undirected youth also exist,' Wolf said. 'P.A.L. strives to bridge a gap between the youth and authoritative figures in the community.

'The program presents solid academic focuses along with ample opportunity for positive and fun activities.

Locally, P.A.L. is operated independently with support and direction from the Tigard police.'

On Monday, P.A.L. organizers introduced a revamped program hoping to bring in scores of middle-school-aged children to become participants in the program that will run the entire school year at Twality Middle School.

The after-school program operates on school days Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m., according to Wolf.

Registered P.A.L. participants are provided with transportation home at the end of the day.

During the 90-minute activity period, 45 minutes is devoted to academics, focusing on homework, and staff is available to help.

'There is documented evidence that programs such as P.A.L. that offer a combination of academics and supervised activity churn out students achieving higher levels of success both in school and in career paths chosen later in life,' Wolf said.

The opening-day special program began at 4 p.m. at Twality with a rally and performance by the Blazer Dancers.

Next up was a presentation by Jarrod Murrieta, previous All-American football player and now a coach, who talked about the importance of commitment to doing the right thing always.

X-Games medallist Bruce Crisman then talked about what it takes to become a pro and the steps to take along the way. He also shared his thoughts on his middle school experiences and where they led him.

A host of Tigard police school resource officers and other department members were on hand to further the message of positive activity and provide an opportunity for everyone to have a share in being successful.

Also, a group of city officials and representatives from the Tigard-Tualatin School District were on hand to help kick off the program.

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