Police Officer Frank Rivera is one of Harrowgate PAL’s Center Directors. He was appointed to the Philadelphia Police Department on November 20, 1989, and was assigned to the PAL Unit in 1994. In his free time, the father of four enjoys playing basketball and refereeing basketball games.
How did you first learn about PAL?
I first learned about PAL through the community when I was young police officer.
What made you want to be a part of the PAL Unit?
I wanted to become a part of PAL because I was working in the streets and I saw a lot of kids getting arrested. I thought PAL would be the perfect way to keep kids off the streets and in safe havens.
History with the Police Athletic League?
I spent my first year in PAL in the Point Breeze community. Following that, I was in North Philly’s Rivera PAL for 18 years. Now, I have been at Harrowgate PAL since 2011.
Why do you think proactive community policing measures like PAL are so important?
PAL is important because it allows the community to get to know that cops aren’t just there to arrest people – we’re people, too, just like them. We’re here to help, and PAL is a great means of interaction and a sound way to mentor our kids.
What is one thing you want every child to know?
I want kids to know that things that come easy don’t last long. It’s the things you work hard for that last long, and you can always accomplish your dreams if you work hard at them.
What kind of impact do you want to have on a child’s life?
I want the kids I serve to know that I’m there for them. I want to teach them the right thing, to help them be successful, and to help them give back in their communities.
Did you have a mentor who made an impact on you? Tell us about it.
My parents were my mentors, because they raised me the right way. Even though we were poor, they showed me I could be successful. They showed me the right path and told me to follow God. They taught me to help people in their hour of need.
What programs do you offer at your center? What programs are unique to your center?
We offer all programs, but some programs unique to Harrowgate PAL are our Girls Volleyball Program and Boys Mentoring Advocate Program through a partnership with Youth Advocate.
Favorite activity at PAL?
My favorite activity is baseball. But as long as kids are off the streets, I’m happy.