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New York Life Foundation Grants $405,000 To Implement Police Athletic League's Castle Program

Three-Year Grant Establishes An After-School And Summer Program For Brooklyn Youth

NEW YORK, N.Y., March 14, 2007 – The Police Athletic League (PAL) announced today a three-year $405,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation, which will fund CASTLE – Children’s Academic Success Through Literacy Enhancement program. CASTLE is a year-round early childhood education program with a parental involvement component, designed to improve academic skills in at-risk, second, third and fourth graders through after-school educational and counseling services.

“This grant from the New York Life Foundation will enhance the lives of many academically at-risk children by providing a comprehensive educational enrichment program that specifically addresses the individual needs of each child,” said Laura Lewandowski, CASTLE director, Police Athletic League.

“We are pleased to partner with PAL to expand the CASTLE initiative and make it available to more elementary school students in New York City,” said Peter Bushyeager, president of the New York Life Foundation.

The program provides second, third and fourth grade students with intensive academic support, counseling and enrichment activities after school and during the summer time. The program is open to all students in the targeted grades. PAL hires teachers from local schools to run the program and develop the curriculum. Students are grouped into classes of 20 to 25 students. PAL’s counselors, who all have master’s degrees in social work, provide individual counseling to students when necessary.

Participating students are tested prior to beginning the program to help the teachers identify the children’s development needs. Students are retested at least once a quarter and parents grant PAL access to the students’ school records, which enables PAL to create individualized education plans that specifically target the educational needs of each child participating in the program, track their progress throughout the year, and make adjustments in the program activities when appropriate.

During the school year, the program runs from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every school day and includes a full meal for students. Students in need of more intensive academic support receive individual or small group tutoring from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on an “as needed” basis. During the summer months, students participate in the CASTLE Summer Day Camp program for 3-4 hours a day in conjunction with PAL’s regular full-day summer camp programs.

CASTLE was developed by PAL and piloted during the 2005-2006 school year at two PAL centers in Harlem and the Bronx. The grant will help expand the program to an additional PAL facility, the Miccio Center, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The Miccio Center is located adjacent to the Red Hook Housing Development, one of New York City’s largest housing projects with over 6,000 residents.

The Police Athletic League, founded in 1914, has been serving New York City’s young people for over 90 years. PAL currently provides recreational, educational, cultural and social activities to tens of thousands of boys and girls each year. It is the city’s largest, independent, nonprofit youth organization.

The New York Life Foundation is the major vehicle through which New York Life Insurance Company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its Nurturing the Children initiative, the Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities. Please visit the Foundation’s Web site at

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New York Life Foundation Grants $405,000 To Implement Police Athletic League's Castle Program

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