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Hollywood PAL has 15 kids training for the 2014 LA Marathon as part of Students Run LA (SRLA).  With one month to go, the kids are tired, sore and nervous. Officer Maria Ceja brought in two speakers to inspire them and turn those nerves into excitement.  First, Ericka from Running Circle led a “Good Form Clinic” on January 22nd and gave the kids individual pointers on how to run efficiently, how to reset one’s alignment during a race, and eased their aches and pains with posture tips. Tiffany Ortiz said, “She told me that I was moving my arms too much and that was making me more tired. She was right, and I already feel better with the new form.” Then on February 4th, a friend of a board member came to practice to give the kids emotional support. Eduardo, who works in Hollywood, is running his 7th marathon. He talked about when he started running and why he keeps running, how each marathon was different and what it means to him to complete a race. The kids were absolutely inspired by his dedication, not to mention impressed by his speed! On February 22nd, the kids will run 20 miles, then they will be ready for the LA Marathon on March 9th.  Special thanks to Fabiolus Cafe for donating the pre-marathon feast on March 7th!

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On Friday, January 3rd the Hollywood PAL Youth Leadership Council (YLC) hosted a fundraising dinner at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor on Sunset. The event honored Officer Elias Aguayo for his dedication to the PAL Soccer program and also welcomed new PAL Officer Gabe Ruiz, who is a PAL alumni himself! 25% of all receipts from PAL guests that night will be donated back to Hollywood PAL. YLC is a group of 15 high school students who plan monthly events and activities to give back to the community. This year, they will be establishing a recycling program with various local businesses and joining the Relay for Life Hollywood event.

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Hollywood PAL kids and their families gathered at Paramount Studios for a magical evening of home cooked food, family togetherness, a toy give away and big laughs from the movie Despicable Me 2. At the event, PAL also took the opportunity to recognize some of the individuals who make PAL possible: our Martial Arts Instructors, Soccer Coaches, Board Members, and of course, our PAL Officers. Thank you again to Paramount Studios for hosting this event as well as to the Chinese Theater, AmGraph and Trader Joe’s for donating our grand prizes.

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On Sunday, December 15th, Board Member Brian Folb took 3 PAL soccer players (Jenny Trejo, Gaby Rodriguez and Yadiee Hernandez) and fellow soccer enthusiast and PAL supporter Jacob Price to the LA Galaxy Open House. Read Brian’s recap:

“Upon our arrival into the parking lot, we saw some older women playing in one of the adjacent practice fields. There were a few people standing there watching, but nothing noteworthy. When we walked over there our soccer girls starting getting excited, because they recognized some of the players out on the field. It was none other than our Women’s Olympic Gold Medalists and World Cup Champions! Our PALs were able to get some photos and meet several of the players including Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan.

Once we were in the Stubhub Center, we signed the girls up to do some drills out on the same field where the LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup just last year. Then we met Bill Armistead who took us on a private tour of the Galaxy Facilities. We saw the LA Galaxy business center and then went down to see the locker room where we were able to take photos next to the lockers of their favorite players. After the tour, we grabbed some tacos and headed over to the tennis stadium for a Q&A with Chris Klein and Landon Donavan. Landon had some great comments about the importance of hard work, practice and perseverance. One kid asked him how he deals with bad situations like losing a big game, mistakes and missed opportunities. He said you need to learn how to put the bad situations behind you and not let it affect the way you behave going forward. He said this wasn’t easy for him to learn to do, but it’s one of the most important things to learn if you are going to be a good leader and effective in whatever it is you do in life.”

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YLC showed their community spirit by waking up at 9am to join Coucilmember Mitch O’Farrell and his team on a neighborhood clean-up in East Hollywood on November 9th. This event marked the beginning of a monthly tradition led by Councilmember O’Farrell. Every second Saturday of the month, there will be a neighborhood clean-up and sponsors will be providing water, snacks and supplies. So take a tip from our PALs and volunteer to help clean-up East Hollywood one Saturday!

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Hollywood PAL is pleased to support 15 kids who are training for the LA Marathon through a program called Students Run LA (SRLA). These kids are running 3 days a week with our officers on a strict training schedule. On September 28th, they participated in the SRLA Kick-off and Say No to Drugs 5K Race, and Oscar Ortiz finished first for our team with a time of 18:35:2. If you are a PAL kid and you want to run with the trainees, please join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you are a PAL friend, and want to donate water or join the cheering team, please contact Valerie Lord at vlord@hollywoodpal.org to get the race schedule.

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Thank you so very much to everyone who came out to support the PAL programs at the 10th Annual Hollywood PAL Awards Benefit Gala on September 12th at the Taglyan Grand Ballroom! It was a fantastic night and an honor to present Community Leadership Awards to Kerry Morrison, Wells Fargo Bank, Sunset Gower + Sunset Bronson Studios, and PAL Soccer Coaches Jacinto Cruz and Victor Navarette. The event raised $138,000 and continues to be the highest revenue generator for the PAL programs. This year’s theme was Who’s Your Hero? and the spirit of heroism filled the room as presenters and award recipients shared their reasons for being involved with PAL. Presenting the awards to our honorees, were the four recipients of the 2013 Hollywood PAL Kid Certificates of Recognition: Michel Sanchez, Bridgette Garcia, Oscar Ortiz and Danielle Galloway. Thank you again to all of our incredible sponsors and everyone who contributed. Please join us again next year!

View photos from the event. Photography by William Kidston.

Take a survey to give us your feedback on the event.

And if you missed the event, check out the terrific PAL video donated by award-winning filmmaker Adrian Roup

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On Saturday, September 14th, 19 Hollywood PAL Martial Arts Students heading to a tournament with instructors Ron Sanchez and Siaka Harding. A few PAL alumni attended as well, showing their support and helping the kids to practice. As a result, 15 kids took home trophies, 6 of which were in first place!  The next Martial Arts tournament will not be until 2014, but there will be a belt testing on September 25th. Parents and friends are invited to watch this important event. Please call the office if you have any questions about the Hollywood PAL Martial Arts Program.