As a youth advisor at Pasadena Police Activities League (PAL), Karina Melin has spent the last four summers with kids from neighborhood schools in a busy blur of field trips to amusement parks and playing video games at John’s Incredible Pizza,
But this year, as the world grapples with COVID-19, the PAL office typically abuzz with kids is closed until further notice.
The doors were locked the second week in March and has since remained quiet through spring and now summer.
For Melin, and the rest of the advisors at the Pasadena PAL program, they began to look for ways to reengage with their kids.
“Our role is to mentor kids from schools in Pasadena,” said Melin. “We provide the kids homework help, tutoring, any guidance and support they may need … since our program has ended we have been social distancing, but we brainstormed ideas and how to engage with our PAL kids during this time.”
PAL advisors put together kits with materials for the classes created and do contact-less drop offs drop them off at the homes of the students who sign up for the online classes.
Emails are sent to remind students and their parents to log-in for the three different programs being offered throughout the day starting at 10:30 a.m.
“Every week we are going to have something different. We’ve made dream catchers, balloon and paper airplane experiments, we are making tie dye face masks and are planting our own bean sprouts so we can watch them grow together,” said Melin.
Pasadena Corporal, Cristian Allen, an advisor for PAL said the team has created enough programming to offer classes up to four days a week. On a day-to-day basis, kids who are part of the PAL program have the chance to take everything from fitness classes, board games, meditation, art and culinary classes.
The ultimate goal, for Corporal Allen and the PAL mentors is to keep the kids engaged as they handle spending summer sheltering-in-place at home.
“The hardest part is getting kids to buy into it,” said Corporal Allen. “They’ve already been locked into this concept through distance learning. But it can be hard to get them to do something on a computer these days, kids are “screen tired” … but, we are trying to spark new friendships and mentor relationships during this time.”
The PAL program is open to kid’s ages 9 to 17 years of age from the Pasadena community that strives to encourage area youth to be good citizens through a partnership with the Pasadena Police Department.
“We just want the kids to interact with their friends even though they can’t be right next to them,” said Melin. “Just talking to us, sharing how there day is … we want them to know that they still have us around.”
Check out the activities Pasadena’s PAL program has put together for the summer: