‘I try my best to pay it forward’
P/O Angel M. Gonzalez, Philadelphia
Director, Harrowgate PAL Center, Philadelphia Police Department
Member (1995-1999) of Rivera PAL, 5th Street and Allegheny Avenue, with PAL Officer Frank Rivera. “He allowed us to call him ‘Frank.’ That was one of his many ways of bridging the gap between cops and kids.”
As a teenager, Angel believed that he was destined for a career in the NBA, so the only PAL program he participated in was Basketball.
“Back in those days I truly believed I was going to the NBA and anything else was a distant second. As my hoop dreams slowly began to fade, I thought about the countless conversations I had with Frank, who advised me on multiple occasions to stay out of trouble and put basketball and family first. But he also told me if basketball doesn’t work out, I could become a Philadelphia Police Officer.
“PAL helped me envision life after high school. All throughout high school I was unsure of my backup plan, as far as what I wanted to be in life. Growing up in the inner city, the only time I saw a Police Officer is when they were chasing someone or locking someone up. Frank allowed me to see Police in a different light.”
Angel graduated from Thomas Alva Edison High School and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Criminal Justice from Holy Family University. He has been a Police Officer for 18 years, working for the past six years as a PAL Officer.
“Those moments I spent at PAL helped me envision myself doing exactly what my PAL Officer was doing – working for the Philadelphia Police Department in a way that helps shape the future by possibly changing the mindset of our youth one at a time.
“PAL is constantly influencing my life on a day-to-day basis. I try my best to pay it forward with the knowledge and experience I gained from my PAL Officer growing up.”