Police Athletic League names Carlos Velazquez as new director

Carlos Velazquez, recently named PAL executive director. Photo by Nino Gallego

The Police Athletic League (PAL) Board of Directors and President David J. Arena announced the appointment of Carlos Velazquez as the new executive director beginning on January 31, 2022.

PAL, a nonprofit organization, has served New York City’s youth for more than 100 years. PAL centers in Brooklyn include Wynn Center (Bed-Stuy) and Breukelen Cornerstone Center (Canarsie) as well as five Head Start sites: Roberta Bright (Coney Island), Carey Gardens (Coney Island), La Puerta Abierta (Coney Island), World of Creative Experiences (Brownsville), and Arnold and Marie Schwartz (East New York).

Before joining PAL, he was the chief program officer for the Boys’ Club of New York, where he led all aspects of expansion and program development.

Velazquez has worked with a wide range of partners within the youth development, education, law enforcement and justice systems including NYPD, FDNY, Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City District Attorney’s Office. He has a Master’s of Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a Master’s of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University.

“We are pleased to welcome Carlos Velazquez as PAL’s new executive director,” said Arena. “Mr. Velazquez has a solid foundation of experience in managing complex and multidisciplinary programming for the Boys’ Club of New York and has maintained vital partnerships in law enforcement and youth development. He also possesses the necessary skills required for the implementation and execution of our strategic goals and initiatives.

Kids from the PAL Cornerstone Center at Howard Houses, in 2016, competed in PAL’s annual “Tournament of Champions.” Photo by Luis Santana

“Carlos has deep roots in the communities we serve, and thousands of PAL children and families will benefit from his leadership and dedication,” he added.

PAL operates 27 youth centers and sites throughout the five boroughs with a budget of approximately $ 30 million. Young people, ages 3 to 21, participate in a wide array of programs afterschool, evenings and weekends including Early Head Start, Head Start, afterschool activities, summer day camps and play streets, teen centers, the Teen Acting program, college readiness, youth employment and juvenile justice programs.

“I am thrilled and honored to lead an organization with a rich history and legacy of serving New York City families,” said Velazquez. “As a native New Yorker with a passion for helping young people reach their fullest potential, I cannot think of a better place to continue my career in public service.”

Velazquez was awarded a commendation from the New York City Comptroller’s Office, the 2018 Community Service Award from the FDNY Hispanic Society, and the 2011 PASEsetter Award from the Partnership of Afterschool Education.

Velazquez succeeds Frederick J. Watts as the executive director of the Police Athletic League. Mr. Watts announced his plans for retirement in January 2021 and passed away on Dec. 23, 2021.

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