Treasure Lake resident, Aaron Beatty, by his own account, didn’t make the best decisions as a kid and found himself in a lot of trouble, more than once. Now, as the founder and executive director of the non-profit Western PA Police Athletic League in DuBois, he has found a way to give back to his community and keep kids out of trouble.
“I was familiar with Western PA PAL from my college days in Pittsburgh and when I moved back to Treasure Lake to join the family business, I wanted to put my stamp on something in this community. I wanted to give our youth the opportunity to learn from my mistakes.” Beatty shared with the Lake News.
Located at 37 East Long Ave in Downtown Dubois, WPAL opened in October 2015 after money was raised and local volunteers chipped in to do the repairs and renovation on the 120 year old building. Since opening, WPAL has served over 750 youth members of the DuBois community. “Although we specialize in boxing and mixed martial arts, we’ve also held teen dances, battle of the bands, suicide prevention speakers, etc. We have a daily after school Youth Fit Club and a Summer Program. Our motto is ‘always for the kids’ and our amazing group of volunteers work hard to meet the needs of the kids we serve. It really is a labor of love.”
According to the WPAL website, the WPAL Boxing & Fitness Center is 100% free to everyone between the ages 6 and 18 and anyone currently attending high school. The WPAL also encourages local law enforcement officials to work out in its gyms, free of charge, with the kids from the area. Adult members pay a nominal fee for use of the facility.
The Golden Gloves Boxing Champions held in March each year is currently the non-profit’s largest fundraiser but a new opportunity is coming this summer to Treasure Lake to benefit WPAL – the Wicked Warrior, an obstacle course/mud run. Visit the Wicked Warrior facebook page for more information and to register to compete. Information on sponsorship opportunities is available by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 814.299.7640.
“I was brought up to get involved in the community. If you’re blessed with the ability to do so, it’s a privilege to give back and make your community better,” shared Beatty about why he started WPAL.
The Police Athletic League is a nationwide organization in communities where volunteers (police officers, coaches, teachers or other community members) help young people, both boys and girls, in sports, with homework and other school-related activities. In DuBois, the WPAL gym specializes in boxing and mixed martial arts but it also provides events and activities that give children a place to go after school, on weekends and during the summer months where they can participate in activities of their choice and be surrounded by positive influences.