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Youth Activities Leagues offer kids outdoor activities

5/9/2014, midnight

The Century Station Youth Activity League (YAL) Program is one of the busiest centers out of 17 Youth Activities Leagues in Los Angeles County. There are approximately 280 kids each day that participate in the YAL and the summer programs reach approximately 550 children daily through the main center and its nearby boxing center.

With many energetic youths that the center attracts it is very difficult to engage the kids without on-site sport facilities. Staff members have had to shuttle the children half a mile to the nearest park for flag football games and soccer matches. This has changed thanks to the generous support of the LA84 Foundation. On January 22, LA84 invested in the Sheriff’s Youth Facility with a major grant of $126,800 to construct a brand-new sports complex at the expanding Century YAL.

The LA84 Foundation funds youth athletics in Southern California, trains coaches and examines the role of sports in society. The foundation is the legacy of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. LA84 has previously contributed $341,000 to fund sports facilities and equipment at the South Los Angeles, Norwalk and Compton YAL centers.

Construction for the new sports complex project began in March 2014 and it converted a large parking lot behind the building into two regulation-size basketball courts and a half-size soccer/football field. The complex was completed in May and now children are able to play organized games with their mentors in a safe and supervised environment.

“We are so excited to have this beautiful new addition,” says the Century YAL’s director, Sergeant Veronica De La Rosa. “Offering more sports opportunities will help us continue to grow the center and encourages kids to participate in fun, healthy outdoor activities.”

The Antelope valley is served by the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station- Jackie Robinson Park, 8773 East Avenue R, Palmdale.

There are 17 Youth Activities Leagues throughout Los Angeles County — and every one represents a safe haven. For some kids, the local Youth Activities League is a place to get some much-needed help with homework. For others, it’s a place to shoot some hoops or learn a new sport without fear of physical violence or becoming tangled up in many of the other negative distractions the streets have to offer. For others, it’s literally a place to call home.

The YAL centers operate during the most crucial hours of the day, from 3 to 7 p.m., a time when many parents are not yet home from work and there’s much trouble to be found on the streets. The YAL is a place that provides fun and healthy things to do, it provides academic help, it provides guidance during times of need, and it provides direction, motivation and hope for a positive future in situations that may otherwise seem bleak.

The YAL centers are available to youths ages 7 to 17, and there is no fee to participate. The facilities are staffed by a blend of deputies, civilian staff and untold dozens of volunteers who just want to help.

For a list of other participating locations visit, http://sheriffsyouthfoundation.org/programs/youth-activities-league/