The Chula Vista Police Activities League Celebrates 30 years of Serving the Youth in our Community
The Chula Vista Police Activities League is celebrating 30 years of service to the youth in and around the Chula Vista area. Though the approach and goals may have shifted the intent has not. Since its inception in 1992, CVPAL has remained focused on bringing together members of the Chula Vista Police Department and the community to serve youth and their families with a specific focus on those that are the most underserved or at-risk.
In the early days of CVPAL, most of the programming revolved around sports. Officers and community members would host clinics and workshops for basketball, golf, and other sports. The sports season rotated periodically and would always take a break in November and December when CVPAL turned its focus on the annual food and toy drive. Teaming up with the Chula Vista Elementary School district, families were identified by staff and the school nurses and CVPAL would coordinate with officers to deliver food and wrapped toys directly to these families.
While CVPAL still teams up with the CVESD and the Chula Vista Welfare Council for the annual food and toy drive, CVPAL president Vanessa McEvoy states that budget constraints, the availability of officers, and the needs of our youth have shifted, and they’ve had to adjust how and what they offer. With officers stretched thin, rather than hosting clinics and programs, CVPAL looks for opportunities to sponsor activities and programs for the youth we serve. In recent years we’ve provided funding and scholarships for kids to participate in the Orange Crate Derby hosted by Rotary, sports clinics, trips to see the Chula Vista Ballet perform, and provided funding for free cooking classes from the Chefs d’ Cuisine foundation and the Velodrome bike program, just to list a few.
While kids’ programs and support are a big part of the mission of CVPAL, CVPAL also focuses on older youth through sponsoring STEAM events like the South Bay Pumpkin Smash – Game of Throws, and unique scholarship programs. Unlike most scholarships that are a “one and done type scholarship” CVPAL president McEvoy states “we are trying to remove barriers for high school seniors to pursue higher education or career technical certifications. Our scholarships are specifically to Southwestern College and fill the gaps left behind by other programs students may qualify for. First off, our scholarship only requires a 2.5 GPA, and provides: a brand-new laptop computer, any tuition not covered by other grants and programs, all textbooks that are required by the professor as well as a parking permit or monthly transit pass. In addition, CVPAL can cover incidentals that can be purchased at the campus bookstore that are required. This can include anything from graphing calculators to composition books required for exams. We are looking to remove barriers and allow these students to focus on either completing the transfer process or career technical certification.” CVPAL is proud of all the students who take advantage of this program.
Some of their scholarship winners have become high school principals, military officers, two recently graduated from UCSD, one has just transferred to UCSD, and one is transferring to CSU San Marcos after completing transfer requirements in just a year and a half.
CVPAL is funded through donations, grants, and through their annual Pingo Fundraiser. To learn more about how you can support CVPAL or attend this year’s fundraiser, visit: https://cvpal.org/