MPAL Building on Hope

Here’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to benefit an entire city by helping build bonds between young people and law enforcement. 

Kids in the inner city neighborhoods of Manchester, NH, have all the problems faced by at-risk kids in any big city with crime, drugs and domestic disputes topping the list, but for 25 years they have had at least one thing going for them: The Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL). 

Dozens of cops give up their downtime to come and coach or mentor or just hang out with kids after school to build friendships and understanding. MPAL’s athletic programs are top-notch, with the judo class even being taught by a sensei from the USA Olympic team. To quote one officer, “We believe we are making champions both in and out of the gym.”  

MPAL programs operate out of the Michael Briggs Community Center, named in honor of fallen officer, Michael Briggs.  It’s a popular gathering place for community events, a safe place for kids to do their homework, with a boxing gym and mats for martial arts training. It offers young people a safe structured environment to help them grow, make good choices and become productive members of the community.

Up to now, MPAL has been able to operate programs and keep things running, but their 105-year-old building is in dire need of repairs, so representatives of MPAL reached out to Building on Hope (BOH), a New Hampshire group of community volunteers that renovates a non-profit space every two years.   

This summer, Building on Hope selected MPAL as their 2016 Project, but the work has only just begun and the scope of the project is huge — but so are the potential benefits. 

There are about 8,000 youth living within a mile of MPAL — one-fourth of them are minorities and one-third live below the poverty line.  With new space and improved facilities, MPAL can continue to build trust between law enforcement and young people, contribute to making a stronger community and stop problems before they start.

A beautifully restored structure with an “extreme makeover” including the amenities and upgrades they need will be a powerful statement to a country that has been rocked by news reports of conflicts between communities and their police forces. For all this to happen just as the world’s attention is focused on the Granite State would send a positive message at the perfect time.

An early estimate of construction needs totals just over $1 million.  The building needs updates to the electric as well as heating and cooling systems, appropriate flooring for athletic activities, and a commercial kitchen to provide healthy snacks and meals to many kids that don't have adequate access to nutritious food at home.   

This effort will require an enormous amount of community support, but MPAL and Building on Hope are confident it can be accomplished one gift at a time. The Building on Hope motto, “many hands make light work,” has proven true on all three of their previous efforts. This just happens to be the biggest one ever.

For more information about Building on Hope and their partnership with MPAL, please visit BuildingonHope.com.

All donations raised will go towards renovating the Michael Briggs Community Center so that MPAL can continue to provide high-quality programming and a safe place for Manchester's youth and become a model for how good things happen when a city truly supports both its kids AND its police force.

Thank you for your donation.

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Organizer

Peter Anthony 
Organizer
Manchester, NH
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