NewsOur Colorado


Denver inner-city youth program in trouble amid city’s rapid growth; program looks to city for help

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 19:53:23-05

Editor's Note: 'Our Colorado' helps us all navigate the challenges related to growth while celebrating life in the state we love. To comment on this or other 'Our Colorado' stories, email us at . See more 'Our Colorado' stories here.

DENVER — A popular sports league for kids has to change in order to survive. The Police Activities League has been serving inner-city kids for decades and now it needs help from the city for its baseball league.

Tavian Duran plays baseball for the league just like his dad, Rico Duran, did.

"If it weren't for PAL then I would probably just be home playing video games," said Tavian Duran.

The non-profit has connected cops with kids through sports or outdoor activities for 50 years.

"The community relies on the Police Activities League as our main resource, as our main point of contact for the beginning of joining a sports league here in the inner-city communities of Denver," said Rico Duran.

However, it was recently announced that the PAL baseball program was in trouble because of the city's growth.

"We were very disappointed and left with few options to get these kids together as a team," said Rico Duran.

Jake Schroeder, PAL’s executive director, said the game has to change because finding fields to practice or play on is getting tough.

"There are so many more people in Denver. There are that many youth programs and adult programs," said Schroeder. "It’s a good problem to have. People want to recreate in their home city."

So PAL is merging with Denver Parks and Rec, adding another league and giving players more field options. But the Duran family worries it won’t be the same.

"There are different challenges there. What are the locations of these practices [they] have to take their kids?" said Rico Duran.

Schroeder is confident baseball will only get better in Denver.

"The whole plan behind this was making it cheaper for the parents, more viable long term and enabling us to help more kids than we do already," said Schroeder.