Police Athletic League of Philadelphia




By: Sandy Harris, Senior Development Coordinator and Auction Manager

I don’t want to date myself, but today I think I will as I reflect on my dear friend Sally Berlin and what she meant to me.

I remember going to the placement office at Peirce Jr. College and looking at the job board.  There on the board, on a 3×5 card, was a listing for a job with the Police Athletic League, a telephone number, and a name: Sally Berlin.  Not knowing much about the organization then, I thought to myself, “how hard could it be working at an athletic club for police officers?”

You can imagine my surprise when I showed up at 4th and Market Streets and walked inside of Continental Bank (where PAL’s Development and Communications team was housed) and asked for Sally Berlin.  I was escorted to a small section in the back of the bank and there was Sally, small in stature, but spirited and kind.  I can recall Sally sitting me at a desk with a typewriter, handing me a letter, and asking me to type.  That was my interview – she took the letter and said she would get back to me.  By the time I got home several hours later, my mother said “some lady named Sally Berlin called and she said you got the job.”  Later, I found out I got the job because I typed the letter with no mistakes – a skill Sally found to be invaluable.

That was my first experience with Sally.  When I started working at PAL, there was a very small, but dedicated staff. Because of Sally, I was able to see firsthand what multitasking meant.  Sally could promote PAL, fundraise, and recruit new Board members with great ease. She was connected to everyone, and she built lasting relationships with Philadelphia’s business, civic, and philanthropic leaders.

Working with Sally and getting to know her is something that I will always treasure.  I learned so much from seeing her in action.  If she called you in regard to a donation and you didn’t call her back, you can bet she would persistently call you until you told her when she could expect the check.  She never took no for an answer and knew how to make everyone she talked to feel special.

Sally cared about the youth of Philadelphia and wanted to make sure that they had a safe place to go after school.  She would do whatever she could for PAL and would tell anyone who would listen about the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia.  It was her passion.

I feel it is an honor and a privilege to have worked with Sally Berlin, and to call her my friend.

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