Police Athletic League of Philadelphia



By: Nadirah D. McCauley

On Thursday, December 3rd, 181 young ladies from PAL’s Positive Images Girls Mentoring program convened at Cozen PAL for the first ever Positive Images & The Black Doll Affair empowerment night. The Black Doll Affair is a philanthropic organization aimed at changing the way girls of color are perceived and, more importantly, perceive themselves.

During the enthusiastic event, young ladies heard from three panelists: Officer Stephanie Velasquez from the Community Relations Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department, former PAL member and current Support Staff member at Wissinoming PAL Mariah Carrol, and Director of Admission at Fortis Institute Jade Thomas. The panelist shared their stories, best practices, advice, and perspective on dealing with bullying, self-esteem, and challenges many of our youth battle with. The girls were left inspired knowing that they can achieve their wildest dreams no matter what obstacles arise or the color of their skin.

Thereafter, each PAL center created a Positive Images Garden to be displayed at their centers. The garden consisted of every girl making a flower with each petal adorning a quality the love about themselves. It served as an opportunity for the girls to talk about themselves and really find beauty and uniqueness within.

To conclude the event, every girl in attendance selected a doll of their choice from an array of dolls donated by PAL Supporters. Some girls chose Barbie career dolls that aligned with their future aspirations, others picked a doll that reflected their own beauty.

PAL thanks the Black Doll Affair and all who donated dolls for making the event possible as well as the panelists and attendees for their openness and sincerity!

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