“I’m getting goosebumps just saying this. You have the world right here in your hands. You can do anything you want,” Chief Kral said. Jared is top-ranked nationally among boxers in his age and weight division. He will represent the United States during championship compe- tition in Germany. The Police Athletic League has left a large im- pact on Jared, and he hopes to encourage the next group of teenagers as well, he said. “It’s kept me out of the streets. It’s kept me on the right path,” he said.
It’s kept me out of the streets. It’s kept me on the right path” — Jared Anderson
Zia, a member of this year’s USA Basketball Women’s U16 team, has 26 letters of interest from NCAA Division I schools. “It’s truly a great blessing to be able to do all of this, and I’m really thankful for all of it,” she said. Since the 1950s, Police Athletic League leaders have coached and mentored area youth. Pro- grams include baseball, boxing, tutoring, and the police explorers. The group now has five full-time employees, 20 volunteers over the year, and about 350 partici- pants.
League member Hayden Morris, 13, followed his brother into the boxing program, and next fall starts seventh grade at Ottawa River Elementary School. The boy said if he continues to arrive on time and train, he might succeed like Zia and Jared. “Being a part of this group means a lot to me. They’re like my family,” Hayden said.
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