In life we all have options to either accept what’s thrown at us or push past it and succeed. Mary McPherson is an example of succeeding at life despite experiencing setbacks. McPherson, who was a recovering addict, moved to Detroit from New Jersey in 2001 looking for a new clean start for herself and her unborn son, Kyle.
She was told about Detroit PAL in 2002 from a police officer who was involved in the organization, and when Kyle was old enough she decided it was time for him to be involved. Kyle loved basketball at a young age and she wanted to get him involved. “I don’t want my son to be a statistic, so I will do whatever it takes to keep him focused and off the corners or hanging at the liquor stores,” said McPherson. In 2012 Kyle started playing basketball with PAL and is currently playing with Coach Johnson’s team as a Laker.
McPherson came to love the organization and Kyle’s coach because of Johnson’s commitment to the team and to helping the boys grow into young men. Through basketball and the new tutoring program for the Lakers that is being implemented for the 2015 season, Kyle and all the other boys are able to grow into the young men they will become.
“My son has an I.E.P, a speech impediment and dyslexia, so the tutoring program that Coach Johnson is committed to is helping Kyle a lot,” McPherson stated, “the commitment from Coach Johnson is giving Kyle the stable male figure that he needs.”
A large reason why McPherson loves PAL is because of the positive male influences her son receives from Coach Johnson and Chris Clough, associate athletic director at Detroit PAL, that Kyle needs but doesn’t have access to consistently. “I am so grateful for the men involved in PAL, for the consistency, structure and positive male role models that they have on my son, especially since I’m a single mother,” McPherson said.
McPherson is a very involved parent; she asks a lot questions and is looking to become a team parent. Currently Kyle is an eighth grader at Detroit Edison Public School Academy and is thinking about playing football for a Detroit PAL team in the future. But for now he is focusing on his first love of basketball and on becoming the next Lebron James.
McPherson is also looking to the future and how she wants her son to stay a part of Detroit PAL, “With PAL I’m looking for longevity,” said McPherson “After Kyle grows out of playing age I want him to come back and mentor other kids to tell them where he came from, and how far he came with the help of PAL and Coach Johnson.”
McPherson would recommend Detroit PAL to all parents saying “If you need something for your child to do that has structure, stability and consistency I would definitely recommend PAL because it starts them on the path of being focused and driven towards their goals and dreams.
“I love the PAL organization, it gives kids hope.”
Detroit PAL is so thankful for athletes and parents that have such a strong commitment to the organization. Without such dedicated people on all ends, Detroit PAL would not be where they are today.