May 27, 2011
DETROIT POLICE CHIEF GODBEE SPEAKS ABOUT HIS HISTORY WITH, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF, THINK DETROIT PAL
Detroit, Mich.—On Thursday May 12th, Think Detroit PAL hosted their Stars of Tomorrow breakfast at Ford Field. The event was attended by such Detroit luminaries as Martin Mayhew and Kim Doverspike of the Detroit Lions, Paul Hillegonds of DTE Energy and Detroit Police Sergeant Shirley Berger. As part of the 1 1/2 hour program, current and former Think Detroit PAL participants gave testimonials about their experiences with the nonprofit, including PAL alumni Detroit Police Chief Ralph L. Godbee, Jr.
Chief Godbee gave an impassioned speech, encompassing his history with the organization and his beliefs on how Think Detroit PAL is currently helping the children in the city. Chief Godbee spoke movingly about his childhood, when his father was ill and hospitalized for an extended period of time. An understandingly tumultuous time, Chief Godbee said his coaches and mentors in the Police Athletic League helped fill the role of a male role model in his life, and he owes part of his success as Detroit Police Chief from the guidance and advice he received at that time.
Spring boarding off his personal experiences, Chief Godbee stressed the importance of Detroit youth forming positive relationships with police officers in an effort to stop crime in the city before it happens. Think Detroit PAL has four Detroit police officers on staff: Officer Darnell Hall, Officer Marcus Norwood, Officer Chenetta Paisley and Officer Ken Valrie. These officers are out at the fields during games, working as coaches and mentors to the over 10,000 girls and boys who participate in Think Detroit PAL’s programming every year.
Other speakers included Imani Gunn, a 16-year-old junior from Mercy High School, and Coach Greg Foreman. Gunn has been playing soccer with Think Detroit PAL for 10 years, and is currently on the TDP Elite travel soccer team Turbo. She spoke about the important role Think Detroit PAL programming and its coaches have played in her life. “My coach, Coach Ed made continuous sacrifices, from going out of his way to pick girls up when a ride was unavailable to them, to inviting the team up to his summer home in Gaylord for an annual tournament,” she explained.
Coach Greg Foreman is a track coach, and has been volunteering with Think Detroit PAL since 2005. He explained how the job of coaching is not limited to the playing field – He and other coaches have made sure their players have taken the ACT, have applied for college, and have even provided girls and boys a place to live when no other option was available to them.
The Stars of Tomorrow is a fundraising effort Think Detroit PAL hosts yearly, and is designed to inform the media and stakeholders about Think Detroit PAL’s mission, programs and effectiveness. The success of this year’s event is due in part to the generous sponsorship from Tooles Contracting Group, LLC.
Interested in learning about other sponsorship opportunities, or sponsoring next year’s Stars event? Contact Director of Development Ann Serra for more information.
Think Detroit PAL was formed in 2006 with the merger of Think Detroit Inc. and the Detroit Police Athletic League. In partnership with the Detroit Police Department and community volunteers, Think Detroit PAL builds character in young people through athletic, academic and leadership development programs. In 2010, Think Detroit PAL served over 10,000 girls and boys through 10 sports, making it one of the largest youth organizations in the state of Michigan. More than 80 cents of each dollar donated to Think Detroit PAL goes directly into programming.
For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, please contact Think Detroit PAL at 313-833-1600 or on the web at www.thinkdetroitpal.org.