Women in PAL – Making a Difference
For women, playing sports may not be the norm, but at Detroit PAL, it is the norm! Detroit PAL has females participating in every sport that the organization has the offer and the young ladies participating in PAL are setting themselves up for a successful future. From coaches, to players, to alumni, the women who have come through PAL have made a positive impact, not only in the programs, but outside of the programs as well.
Meet Kayla Batie and Felise Washington. Two young ladies who participated in PAL when they were younger and they both are still involved in PAL today. Kayla currently attends Xavier University in Louisiana and she participated in cheer during her time with PAL. She is currently a site monitor for softball and works under Athletic Director Ramona Cox. Felise is a former volleyball and softball player with PAL and she recently graduated from University High School Academy. She will attend Schoolcraft College this upcoming fall on a volleyball scholarship. Felise now helps coach volleyball and she too works under Ramona Cox.
These two young ladies shared their experience participating in PAL and also giving back as well. Kayla cheered for three years with the Southfield Jayhawks and she enjoyed her experience during those three years. “Cheering for the Jayhawks was so much fun, I really enjoyed it,” said Kayla. Cheering is what got Kayla into PAL and now after her experience in PAL, Kayla still wanted to be a part of the organization. As a site monitor for softball, Kayla goes around to different fields for games making sure that everything is ran accordingly. In addition to being a site monitor, Kayla also participates in the Future Coaches Leadership Academy. “In the academy I am learning what it takes to be a leader, effective ways to coach and how I can have a positive impact on the youth,” said Kayla about the Leadership Academy.
Kayla wanted to come back and be a part of PAL because of the opportunities presented. “Working with Ramona Cox, I was able to see the opportunities she brought to the girls and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Kayla. Kayla wants more girls playing sports because she believes that girls can break that perception of “females not being able to play sports” and PAL is the perfect place to do that. “PAL has a has a positive impact on the community by encouraging youth and making numerous different programs for girls and boys that can be beneficial to them outside of sports,” said Kayla. “It’s something positive in the Detroit community and PAL is made for the youth and they should definitely take advantage of it. It gives the children something to do other than being at home and preventing them from doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.”
For Felise, her experience with PAL was different, to say the least. “Before I played in PAL, the volleyball team that I was a part of didn’t care too much about the players, they just threw the team together and said here you go,” Felise said. But once she got into PAL, that all changed. “When I switched to PAL it was like the coaches and coordinators actually cared about us and wanted us to be successful on and off the court,” Felise said about her volleyball experience in PAL. Now a coach in PAL, Felise always wanted to have the opportunity to give back and be a part of the youth’s lives. She also is a part of the Girl’s Changing the Game initiative.
“Girl’s Changing the Game means a lot to me because you’re taking the stereotype and breaking it down and showing people that girls can do things just as good as boys can and sometimes better,” Felise said talking about Girl’s Changing the Game. She wants kids participating in PAL because it’s a learning experience and PAL can open doors for you and put you in a good position to succeed in life. Felise thanks PAL for opening a door for her as she received a volleyball scholarship to play in college at Schoolcraft. “PAL helped me get a scholarship to Schoolcraft College because my coaches (Ramona Cox) helped instill confidence in me and I realized that I can go after anything I put my mind to and I just need that confidence and push to make it in life,” Felise said.
Detroit PAL is a hub for the community and wants the youth and everyone to go on to bigger and better things. These two young ladies are just a glimpse of what the youth are doing in PAL and how they are impacting the community.
Article written by Workforce Development Team Member: Kevin Moore