Seven Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) youth were honored with personal recognition and individual scholarship funds totaling $21,500 as presented by the Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarships program on Thursday, May 17 at the DoubleTree Suites in Santa Monica. More than 250 guests attended including scholarship recipients and their families, and the Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarships donors.

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 annually in May at the PAL Recognition Dinner and Awards Ceremony. Now in its 16th year, more than 100 scholarships totaling $245,000 have been awarded to PAL youth.

The seven Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarships 2018 recipients include Erica Atkins, $3,000; Sammy Bonilla, $4,500; Katie Bravo, $3,500; Taneia Bryant, $4,000; Jacob Duren, $2,000; Kevin Felix Madrigal, $1,500; and Jasmine Morales, $3,000.

Each scholarship recipient provided remarks on receiving their scholarship award that also included their PAL experience:

“The Police Activities League is honestly a wonderful place to be involved in, because you find out who you really are as a person,” said Erica Atkins, PAL member for eight years.

“PAL has allowed me to keep my focus on school and the staff constantly push me to keep pursuing my goals to get into college,” said Sammy Bonilla, PAL member for 11 years.

“PAL was there to guide me through all the rough patches I had and I greatly appreciate all the members of the Police Activities League. I don’t trust or love any organization as much as I trust PAL,” said Katie Bravo, PAL member for four years.

“I am very grateful for PAL and I strongly believe that the mentoring program should continue on,” said Jacob Duran, PAL member for seven years.

“PAL has changed me, it has made me more of a leader and has brought out the good in me,” said Kevin Felix Madrigal, PAL member for nine months.

“I am very grateful for PAL because if it wasn’t for PAL my sister and I wouldn’t have been able to have a better life,” said Jasmine Morales, PAL member for seven years.

The Chris Carrey PAL Scholarship presenters included Phil Brock, Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica; Elaine and Joel Polachek; Karen Carrey; Neil Carrey; Ed Simmons, SP Plus; Baker & Hostetler; Mary Ann and Jim Powell; Patty and Cheryl Loggings; Laurel Rosen and Richard Laurence, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce; Kathy Irby and Lois Clark; Lauralee Asch; Helen Albright; Jean McNeil Wyner; Jack Walter; and Mike and Adrienne Blackman.

“On behalf of the PAL kids and our entire organization, we are extremely grateful to all of the participants in the Chris Carrey PAL Education Scholarships program,” says Eula Fritz, Director at Santa Monica Police Activities League. “Their donations help each student continue with their academic dream. Without their support, these kids would most likely not have an academic path to pursue.”

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 awards to deserving members of the community who have had an impact on the lives of youth. This year’s two award recipients were volunteers Ebonicia Fisher and Kevin Jackson.

The Santa Monica Police Activities League is located at the PAL Youth Center at 1401 Olympic Blvd.. 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 smpal.org.

Submitted by Cameron Andrews, Pier Communications