West Oak Lane PAL’s Shining Star: Paulette Brown
PHILADELPHIA, PA – February 1, 2011 – Paulette Brown has a remarkable, long list of accomplishments for a 28 year old woman. She is a West Oak Lane PAL Alumna, and credits many of her successes to her time at PAL. Through the guidance of her PAL Center Director, Police Officer Steve Brennan, Brown overcame the challenges of growing up in the inner city, and has blossomed into a wonderful human being who is career-driven and motivated in every aspect of her life. She is truly a shining example of the Police Athletic League and the positive impact it has on the children it serves.
Growing up in the West Oak Lane area of the City, Brown was surrounded by many negatives in her childhood. One day while playing her neighborhood, she accidentally wandered into the PAL Center. Thrilled by what she saw, she enrolled in PAL at the age of 12 with her two younger sisters. “There were so many kids playing different types of games, running around, yelling, laughing and just having fun. But the strangest part to me was that there weren’t any adults running and yelling after the kids, telling them to sit down and be quiet. So of course I knew that I was in a good place and I wanted to be involved with whatever they were offering,” Brown said.
Aside from being able to play in a safe environment and meeting new friends, PAL afforded Brown with a handful of unique opportunities that she would never have been able to experience otherwise. “My membership has allowed me the opportunity to travel to various places around the world, like the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado where I participated in a leadership development program. I participated in double-dutch tournaments, basketball leagues and served as City Council President for a day,” said Brown.
Through PAL, Brown was awarded a college scholarship and attended Millersville University, from which she graduated in 2005. She even credits her successes after college to PAL. “Even after graduating college, my PAL experiences are still influencing my life. Where I was shy as I child, I am now very outgoing. The many competitions have taught me how to work well on a team, which is very useful in my work today,” noted Brown.
While looking back on her experiences at PAL, Brown has nothing but fond memories of her friends, experiences and her PAL officer and friend, Police Officer Brennan. “He has always encouraged me to work hard in everything I do. He made sure that I was involved in different activities; he even made sure that I got home safely after the center would close. Since I was 12, he has gone above and beyond the duties of his job. He has been there for every birthday, every holiday, every prom, every speech and every graduation – even calling just to check on me,” said Brown.
Today, Brown works in Human Resources and is constantly meeting and interacting with new people. She is back in school at Rosemont College, working on obtaining a Master’s Degree in Psychology. Without PAL, Brown notes that she doesn’t know where she’d be today. “There is no doubt in my mind that I am a better person today because of all the life lessons that I learned at PAL. It’s hard to even imagine my life without PAL. Of all the things that I want to know in this world, of all the things I pretend to know, I’m glad I don’t know where I would be without PAL since it has been such an influential part of my life. I know that I am a better person because of PAL. I know other former PAL kids who would say the same thing.”