PHOENIXVILLE >> Owen Logue, a senior at Immaculata University, is giving back to the Phoenixville Police Athletic League (PAL), a non-profit organization that he was first involved with as a teenager. Logue is hoping to receive a grant that he has applied for on behalf of the organization with proceeds going toward updating their website.
Founded in 1999 by executive director Jim Deoria and his father Jim Sr., PAL initially began with a youth boxing program in the basement of the Civic Center. Since then, it has expanded outward and now offers many different youth programs in the community including wrestling, golf clinics and babysitting classes.
Logue, who grew up in Phoenixville, first got involved with the youth boxing program at PAL during the end of his junior year of high school. Logue eventually went on to fight in an amateur boxing match.
“It sounded like a cool idea, the boxing program that they do. We were all looking for something to do over the summer. They had a big boxing gym and it was great, I loved it,” Logue said.
“As I started going more, Jim Deoria, who is in charge of the program, started noticing I was getting better at boxing. I had one amateur fight, he helped me and guided me along. I stuck with it for years, it was a great experience.”
While taking a proposal and grant writing course last semester at Immaculata, Logue, a communications major, was given the task of helping a non-profit group in the area.
“We had to find non-profits and then we had to find foundations to apply for a grant. They were contracting us out as free grant writers for a semester,” Logue commented. “We wrote and developed an entire grant proposal. When I was thinking about non-profits to help, PAL was the first thing I thought of.”
Logue said he found writing the grant to be a really great experience and he learned more about PAL then when he was actively involved in the program there.
“I had a really great experience there and I just wanted to give back,” he said. “We were trying to pay for PAL to redo their website. We haven’t gotten confirmation that our proposal was processed or if we got the grant yet but we are hoping for the best.
“It’s a great opportunity for kids to partake in,” he continued. “When I was there, Jim was always really good to me and my brother. He was always there cheering us on and helping us out. I wanted to use what I have now, to be able to give back to that great experience that I had when I was there.”
Deoria, a police officer in Schuylkill Township, used to be a boxer himself, and would travel to Philadephia along with his father for training. He founded PAL and the boxing program because of his own experience.
“I thought if we can give the kids a good program here in Phoenixville, and I’ll bring the experience that I learned, and my father and my old coach John, we can really show these kids something nice,” Deoria said. “That’s how we got it started.”
Deoria added that he tries to keep the programs offered at PAL unique. He also noted that PAL programs are open to all children within the community, not just troubled youth.
“We don’t offer programs that conflict with other youth programs offered in Phoenixville. We’re a smaller organization compared to other organizations out there, but we’ve done a lot. We are up to about 250 kids per year we keep off the streets by having these programs,” he said. “Our PAL isn’t designed just for kids that are troubled. Owen is a perfect example of a kid who wasn’t in trouble but still chose to come through PAL. We just guided him along and he found himself.”
Deoria continued, “It’s great that he’s giving back. I’m proud. They say if you can save one kid you’re doing something. The grant he put in for is to help upgrade our website. We want to make it look really nice and professional. He got on top of it for us and he did a beautiful grant. It makes us feel proud to see that a kid will come back and give back to the program he came from and also give thanks to coaches that helped him along.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to PAL’s efforts to design a new website can send a contribution to: Phoenixville PAL, PO Box 221, Phoenixville, PA 19460.