Manchester Police Athletic League's Impact On Our Youth
“Before MPAL my oldest daughter was bullied and my youngest daughter was a bully.”
It has been a year and a half since Lynette Acosta and her two daughters, Sealynn and Ana, became involved with MPAL and the United Way Youth Enrichment Partnership.
“The programs we have participated in have made changes for me and especially my girls. We are more like a family,” says Lynette.
When Sealynn (8th grade) first began boxing with MPAL, she was a shy teen who lacked desire or confidence to engage with others or participate in activities. Through the discipline of boxing, “Sealynn has gained self-confidence and is now participating in things I never would have expected.”
She has been a regular participant in boxing but has also taken advantage of opportunities provided by the Youth Enrichment Partnership grant.
Girls Inc. came to MPAL to present assertiveness training which helped Sealynn capitalize on her already budding self-confidence. Through the grant, Sealynn was also able to participate in Resilience Reins, a therapeutic equestrian program provided at UpReach, with her mom and sister building a bond and creating a stronger family unit. The MPAL Ambassador Program allowed Sealynn to put her new skills and confidence to practice. During her culminating project she was able to speak and answer questions in front of a group of seventy-five community members.
The UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian program, the UNH STEM classes/summer camp and the Girls Inc assertiveness training are just some of the programs Ana has been able to attend as a result of the Youth Enrichment Grant.
“Ana has taken what the programs have taught her and applied it outside of the gym. She is no longer a bully and is actually helping others now,” says Lynette.
Not only is Ana attending UNH STEM camp this summer, but she is branching out and getting involved in other school and camp programming that a year ago she would not have considered
The collaboration of partners within the Youth Enrichment Partnership has provided a network allowing kids, like Sealynn and Ana, to gain skills that will positively affect the rest of their lives. The Youth Enrichment Partnership takes a strength-based approach to lift up Manchester’s youth leading to social and emotional growth. The established partnerships built are resulting in the expansion of programs and the elimination of barriers, such as lack of transportation, ability to pay and knowledge of resources, for at-risk youth. The kids are gaining life skills and exploring their own strengths, interests and career paths.