St. John’s PAL was started in 1991 by Sheriff Neil Perry as a non-profit youth serving organization.
PAL works in cooperation with many local organizations, such as the County Recreation Department, St. Johns County School District, United Way of St. Johns County, Juvenile Justice, our state and national chapters and many others to offer programs to the youth of our communities.
PAL is one of the oldest citizen-building youth programs in the nation. It builds friendships between law enforcement officers and children within the community and is based on the conviction that young people, if reached early enough, can develop strong positive attitudes towards police officers in their journey through life toward the goal of maturity and good citizenship.
Studies have shown that if a young person respects a police officer on the ball field, in the gym or in the classroom, they will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforce. Our staff and volunteers also have the opportunity to be a trusted authority figure that assists children with finding guidance, setting goals, and enjoying new life opportunities. PAL has embraced traditional American values where one generation responsibly shares its wisdom and helps kids learn to work together to be responsible for themselves, as well as set goals in their lives.