The Irving Police Athletic League (IPAL) will move to a new home thanks to determined police officers and generous Irving businesses and residents.
Late last year, the State Attorney General’s Office seized funds from an organization that was fraudulently collecting money on behalf of Police Athletic Leagues, but not distributing the funds. The Irving PAL was awarded $202,000 from the seizure by an Administrative Law Judge on the condition IPAL could raise matching funds.
The Irving Police Department has run the nonprofit IPAL for 26 years. The program serves at-risk Irving children ages 7 to 18. The mission is to help them develop self-esteem, discipline and mental courage by offering boxing, kayaking, rock climbing, fitness classes, leadership and support.
“The IPAL program has had such a positive effect on so many Irving youth,” said Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer. “Irving’s caring donors delivered a dream to these children and the officers who are so committed to helping them.”
At its current facility, IPAL can serve only 1,500 Irving children a year. To grow, the police department has identified the 20,000-square-foot National Guard Armory, a building the city of Irving already owns but needs renovation, as the best prospect for the new program. The larger building would allow the department to triple the number of youth served.
The location is ideal: Irving High School is across the street and the Lively Pointe Youth Center is next door. A park and running track are behind it, which would provide a safe place for running and archery, something IPAL currently does not have. Tennis courts are across the street at the high school.
Plus, there is an added benefit to the Armory — classrooms, which would allow after-school tutoring. Because IPAL requires passing grades to participate in the program, the police department encourages education as well as athletics.
“This program has been a positive influence on the youth in our community,” said Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey. “Our kids have grown up to be doctors, accountants, police officers; we have a chef, some teachers and coaches. It’s amazing what many of these kids have accomplished. IPAL provides a community that fosters self-esteem and discipline. The officers are their mentors, their coaches and in many cases have become their life-long friends.”
Spivey says fundraising efforts do not end here. The program will grow, so donations for sports equipment, desks and programming are still needed.
The police department is dedicated to having a positive impact on the lives of Irving’s youth. Visit Irving Pal for more information on IPAL, their programs and the expansion.