The Police Athletic League of Philadelphia today announced the appointment of April Thomas-Jones as Executive Director of the nonprofit that partners with the PAL unit of the Philadelphia Police Department to build and strengthen relationships between cops and kids.
Thomas-Jones will lead the civilian 501c3 organization founded in 1947 that currently supports 17 PAL centers staffed by Philadelphia police officers.
Since 2009, Thomas-Jones has been Executive Director of the Old Pine Community Center, a resource for youth, community organizations, and sports leagues. Old Pine is located in the Society Hill/South Street neighborhood, and serves communities throughout the city. Among the programs she oversaw at Old Pine are after-school and summer camps for children, adult education, programs for senior citizens, and 12-step recovery programs. As the pandemic limited access to many of these programs, Thomas-Jones established a supervised online learning space for students in grades K-8, and the SHINE program of outreach to people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity throughout the city.
Thomas-Jones succeeds Ted Qualli, who leaves the organization after a successful seven-year tenure as executive director.
“April brings to PAL a passion for improving the lives of young people as well as a track record of success,” said former PAL kid Ron Rabena, Chair of the PAL board and Chief Client Officer for Allied Universal Security Services. “PAL’s mission is critically important and we are fortunate to have recruited such a dedicated and accomplished executive director to build on Ted Qualli’s work over the past seven years of increasing funding and awareness of the organization, and paving the way for construction of two new PAL centers.”
“April’s experience in working with so many diverse community organizations will help build a new future in community/police relations, a future built on a 74-year tradition,” said former PAL kid and current PAL Board member Steven Head, who served on the committee that selected Thomas-Jones.
A Philadelphia native, Thomas-Jones noted how PAL’s core values align with her dedication to enhancing the lives of Philadelphia’s youth.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of a team that works to advance generational change for the good of every neighborhood that makes up this great city,” said Thomas-Jones.
“I look forward to working with the entire team – the Board, civilian staff, PAL Commanding Officer Capt. Krista Dahl-Campbell and all the PAL officers – in building relationships with kids and communities.”
Prior to her work with Old Pine, Thomas-Jones worked at the University of Pennsylvania, creating and implementing academic and extracurricular programming for inner-city high school students. She was a high school teacher at the New Media Technology Charter School in Philadelphia and an elementary-grade teacher with the School District of Philadelphia. Since 2016, Thomas-Jones has been an adjunct faculty member at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr.
Thomas-Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations/Journalism/Advertising from Temple University and a Master of Education from Lincoln University. She serves on the board of PHL Diversity and is a member of Philadelphia’s Food Policy Advisory Council.