A dozen outstanding Santa Monica Police Activities (PAL) kids shared $29,500 in academic funds presented by the Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarship program last month at the Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica.

Through a joint gift from Ed Simmons and Standard Parking and from Neil and Karen Carrey, an endowment fund has been established for the Chris Carrey PAL Education Fund. This fund provides scholarships for post-high school education expenses to a PAL member who meets required criteria, shows financial need, successfully completes an application package, and is selected by the Chris Carrey PAL Education Fund Committee. The scholarship recipients are presented at the PAL Recognition Dinner and Awards Ceremony each year. To date, over $140,000 in scholarships have been provided to PAL youth.

The 12 Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarship 2016 recipients include Evelyn De Arcos, $6,000; Toni Bryant, $2,000; Heber Cruz, $1,000; Juliana De La Cruz, $2,000; Brandon Galarde, $1,000; Luis Ramirez Hernandez, $1,500; Vicente Martinez, $1,500; Beverly Ramos Lopez, $7,000; Cesar Rodriguez, $2,500; Aide Rosas, $1,000; Desmond Simmons, $2,500; and Maurice Wilkes, $1,500.

“The reason I go to PAL as often as I do is to learn different leadership skills and use those skills in my life and to also teach other lessons that I learned and use them to better my life,” said Maurice Wilkes, Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarship recipient. “PAL has helped me and so many others make better decisions for today and in the long run.”

The Chris Carrey PAL Scholarship presenters included Jessica Handy and Tony Antich, Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica; Elaine Polachek, Assistant City Manager at City of Santa Monica; Tara Brown, PAL Board of Directors; Kim Sidoriak, Santa Monica Travel and Tourism; Tish Tisherman, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce; Officer Beatriz Gutierrez, Santa Monica Police Officers Association; Mary Ann and Jim Powell, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier; Ed Simmons, SP Plus; and Helen Albright, Jean McNeil Wyner, Patty Loggins, Kathy Irby, Adrienne Blackman, and Neil and Karen Carrey.

“Each year the Santa Monica PAL recognition ceremony provides an opportunity to honor the great kids at PAL and to help them with their academic goals and dreams,” says Eula Fritz, Director at Santa Monica Police Activities League. “Key to being able to provide the scholarships and for support throughout the year is made possible by the many donors and sponsors. Their efforts and commitment is paramount to the success of the PAL program.”

In addition to the presentation of the Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarships, the annual PAL Recognition ceremony provides an opportunity for PAL to bestow Community Recognition and Good Citizen Awards.

At the conclusion of this year’s program May 12, longtime supporter Gibson Santa Monica presented Santa Monica PAL with a check for $5,000.

The Santa Monica PAL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a safe and supervised place for young people ages 6 through 17. PAL teaches skills, promotes self-respect and respect for others, and helps kids reach out to their peers and to adults. PAL provides free academic and cultural programs and a wide variety of recreational activities. Each year hundreds of youth learn to work and play in groups, with individual attention available whenever it is needed.

“PAL is a place I have been relying on heavily since I was the age of seven and it has always been there for me, a bond that special can never be replaced or forgotten,” added Julianna De La Cruz, Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarship recipient.

The Santa Monica Police Activities League is located at the PAL Youth Center at 1401 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 12-10 p.m. and Saturday from 12-6 p.m. For more information, call 310-458-8988 or visit http://www.smpal.org.