Detroit PAL

  About Us

Who is Detroit PAL?

Detroit PAL is a non-profit organization positively impacting the lives of more than 12,000 children each year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs. Formed through a merger of Think Detroit and the Detroit Police Athletic League in 2006, Detroit PAL has roots dating back to 1970.

Detroit PAL empowers the community by training volunteer coaches and by creating safe places for kids to play. Each year, Detroit PAL teaches more than 1,500 caring community members how to be encouraging and effective mentors. Detroit PAL has also renovated numerous parks across the city including Maheras-Gentry Park and St. Hedwig Park, transforming them into some of the city’s premier athletic facilities.


Detroit PAL’s largest programmatic focus is youth sport leagues. The organization runs 11 traditional recreation programs in a variety of sports including baseball, softball, track & field, soccer, football, cheerleading, basketball and a volleyball league exclusively for girls.

In addition to its extensive recreational sport leagues, Detroit PAL also fields several travel teams throughout the year in five sports.Detroit PAL’s travel teams are made up of the strongest on-field leaders.


2008 DTE Foundation – Achieving Excellence Award Winner, Merger Category
2007 Charter One – “Champions in Action” model youth development program in southeast Michigan
2006 DTE Foundation – Achieving Excellence Award Semi Finalist, Sustainability Category
2005 Nation’s First Lady & State’s First Gentleman model youth development organization
2005 Unsolicited visit by the First Lady of the United States
2004 Crain’s Detroit Business – Best Managed Nonprofit

Khira Wallace   Girls Volleyball player

“I enjoy playing volleyball with Detroit PAL. I have developed great friendships by participating on the team and have learned to be more confident both on and off the court through my coach, Michele Lewis Watts. I think it is important for girls to play sports. You learn to encourage each other no matter how bad things might be at the moment and how to praise each other with each accomplishment, even the small ones.”

  Financial Info

Where Your Donation Goes

At Detroit PAL, we know our donors are all about the kids. That’s why we make sure the highest percentage possible of every donated dollar goes towards our athletic and academic programs. Whether a donation comes from an individual, a corporate partner or a foundation, we value every dollar that is contributed to help make Detroit a great place to be a kid and raise a family.

Supporting Detroit PAL

The majority of donations to Detroit PAL come from proactive individuals who care deeply about the future of Detroit’s children. In addition, Detroit PAL benefits greatly from its corporate partners and supporting foundations. To learn more about donating to Detroit PAL, please visit our website

  Building Communities

Community Development:

Examples of Detroit PAL facility improvement projects include:

  • $1 million renovation of five baseball and softball diamonds at Maheras-Gentry Park.
  • Renovation of three baseball diamonds at St. Hedwig Park to create a premier baseball facility for use of TDP teams and other community leagues.
  • $20,000 in field improvements to 11 baseball and softball diamonds at Jayne Playfield.

Community Partnerships:

Facilities maintained by Detroit PAL, such as Historic Ft. Wayne and Peterson Playground, as well as other host sites for Detroit PAL leagues.

Community Engagement:

Detroit Public Schools, charter schools, churches, youth centers and other community organizations with Detroit PAL athletic teams.

  Get Involved

Why Volunteer

Athletic participation in programs like those offered by Detroit PAL provide a multitude of proven benefits that promote a child’s well being. Compared to doing nothing at all, having an effective out-of-school activity results in 27% more youth with better grades and 37% more youth with higher achievement test scores!

Detroit PAL provides more than 3,000 urban girls with an opportunity to gain self-confidence and develop leadership skills though participation in organized sports each year.

Detroit PAL partners with the Skillman Foundation’s Good Neighborhood Initiative to increase participation in extra-curricular programming among children in high-risk neighborhoods. Detroit PAL offers unique programming opportunities to residents of Osborn, Brightmoor, Cody/Rouge and Southwest Detroit neighborhoods and makes a concentrated effort to improve fields and hold events in those areas.

Kimberly Kyff   National Board Certified Teachers' 2007 Michigan Teacher of the Year

“As a classroom teacher I am always thrilled when my students are involved with Detroit PAL and extra-curricular activities. The young people learn the valuable skill of time management. They are always encouraged by their coaches to improve academically and attend school daily. Many times, it is through participation in these activities, that students who have previously been disengaged in the classroom realize the importance of academic excellence and begin to strive to excel.”

Be a Volunteer!

As a volunteer with Detroit PAL you can make a tangible difference in the lives of Detroit’s youth. Our volunteer coaches use sports as an opportunity to create character building opportunities on and off the field.

All Detroit PAL volunteers who work with our kids must pass a background check and complete our IMPACT training program which gives caring community members the tools needed to be great mentors. Our volunteers amass more than 200,000 hours of working directly with children each year! That is a lot of time spent keeping Detroit kids on the right path.

If you are looking for an activity for a group of people from your office, school, religious or civic organization to get involved with, volunteer for a day with us. There are ample opportunities to prepare parks and fields for our sports programs.

Please contact us for more information at our office, at 313-833-1600.

Darus Ward   Michigan State University student and former Detroit PAL Elite soccer player

“Detroit PAL was a place where I could come and get away from all the dangerous things the street had to offer. I came here to do homework after school, read books or magazines about sports and receive good advice from people who are truly dedicated to improving the lives of young people in Detroit. I cannot stress enough how much Detroit PAL is helping the young people of Detroit and the future leaders of tomorrow