PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia schools let out for summer break next week, so in an effort to keep kids safe, Ford PAL in South Philadelphia announced they will expand their hours.
If you’re walking down Synder Avenue, passing the recreational center, you will find kids shooting hoops, laughing, and letting off some steam. Officer Joseph Ellerby, Director of Ford PAL, says that, to him, it’s more than just kids playing a game of basketball.
"While the kids are in here, I know they’re not getting shot at. They’re not doing any shooting and I know they’re getting positive love and energy in this Ford PAL center, which every kid needs," said Ellerby.
Officer Ellerby is on his third generation of kids at the center and with the $400,000 from the city and Philadelphia police, he says the center can open on Saturdays and expand their programs: workshops, cooking classes and sports.
Munir Williams, 19, just graduated from high school and started real estate school at Temple University. He says the center changed his life.
"It kind of helped me manage my life and benefit me while also staying out of trouble," said Williams. "It changed my life by giving and providing me with so many opportunities."
Williams’ mother says that if there were more centers, like Ford PAL, the city’s gun violence would not be as heavy as it is.
When the center's doors open, all kids are welcome. Ford PAL is currently looking for additional volunteers, so if you are interested or want more information on how you can get involved click here.