Volunteers pitch in to help YPAL

By joe gorman



It was a trespassing call in March at a West Side business that led the way to a new roof and other help Friday for the Youngstown Police Athletic League.

Representatives of eight companies were on hand to help put a new roof on the new YPAL building on Southern Boulevard and clean the inside and outside of the building. Patrolman Ed Colon, executive director of YPAL, said the building has been used but the repairs should allow YPAL to ramp up its athletic programs for city youths to full strength.

YPAL was housed in a former fire station on Mahonng Avenue but moved last September after a local union donated the building on Southern Boulevard. In January, however, someone broke in and stole several thousand dollars’ worth of video-game and other equipment, Colon said.

He said YPAL was short on funds to replace the equipment and make other needed repairs, such as a roof.

In March, Colon answered a trespassing call at ABC Supply on Meridian Road and met Gregg D’Angelo, a branch manager. One thing led to another and the pair started discussing the YPAL building and the need for a new roof, D’Angelo said.

“He [D’Angelo] was really the individual organizing this on our behalf,” Colon said.

The pair kept in touch over the summer through email, and when Colon told D’Angelo he wanted to make the repairs in August or September, D’Angelo reached out to some of the companies ABC does business with and asked if they would contribute. All of them immediately said yes — and D’Angelo said he was not surprised.

“It does not surprise me because it’s their character” to help out, D’Angelo said.

Besides ABC, also on hand Friday was M&J Roofing; J&V Roofing; Ackworth Construction; Fabien Construction; Home Depot in Boardman; Certain Teed Shingles of Valley Forge, Pa.; and Owens Corning of Cranberry, Pa.

Buddy Colley, store manager at Home Depot, had a group of helpers with him and said he was excited to take part because it is part of Home Depot’s mission of giving back to the community. He also said it was a good way to help youths in the city.

“This is our future,” Colley said.

He brought nine workers with him who were helping to clean up the inside of the building and do some landscaping.

YPAL began in April 2007 and at one time sponsored baseball and basketball leagues. Colon said the league has not been able to do that since moving out of the old building. Since they began renovating the new one, the league has started a mentoring program and fishing program for kids in the new building, and also wants to add a flag football league this year.

Colon also said there are plans to hold game nights and language sessions in the new building, and the league hopes to bring back baseball and basketball next year.

Anyone interested in YPAL can call 330-406-0109 or email ypalboard@youngstownpal.org.

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