BOH Selects Manchester Police Athletic League

MPAL

Organization promoting mentorship between police officers and inner-city youth will undergo major
Manchester, NH – Building on Hope, an organization of New Hampshire volunteers who have completed
over $1 million in community-funded, non-profit renovation projects in the past six years, has
announced the Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL) will receive major renovations to its facilities
in 2016. Building on Hope representatives were joined by dozens of Manchester Police Department and
city officials today at the Michael Briggs Community Center on Beech Street in the heart of downtown
Manchester. The building, named in honor of fallen Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, is in need
of major renovations to fully serve the 8,600 at-risk youth living within one mile of the community
center.

“While dozens of New Hampshire nonprofits applied to be considered for a Building on Hope
renovation, it quickly became clear MPAL was the ideal choice given their needs and the current
national discourse,” said Building on Hope co-chair Jonathan Halle. “By far, MPAL will be the most costly
and labor-intensive Building on Hope project to date. The scope of the project is still underway, but we
estimate it could cost upwards of $1 million to renovate all four floors of the 16,000 square-foot, 105
year old facility. This effort will require enormous community support and multiple funding sources –
but we are confident it can be accomplished.”

MPAL was established in 1992 and the group opened the Michael Briggs Community Center on Beech
Street in the heart of downtown Manchester in the former Saint Cecilla’s Hall in 2004. The organization
provides a safe and positive afterschool environment for Manchester’s inner-city youth, offering an
alternative to at-risk behavior and encouraging positive relationships between law enforcement and
young people. Each day up to 100 youth between the ages of 5 and 21 come to MPAL after school to
participate in free activities including judo, aikido, wrestling, boxing, rugby and lacrosse in addition to
receiving academic help from Manchester police officers. MPAL also offers a Venture Boy Scout Troop
giving inner-city kids the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities as well as a computer room staffed with
volunteer student tutors from Saint Anselm College.

Renovations in Spring 2016

At 105 years old, the building is in need of updates to electric and heating systems, appropriate flooring
for athletic activities, and a resurfaced parking lot. A commercial kitchen is eyed to provide healthy
snacks and meals to many kids who do not have adequate access to nutritious food at home. The
installation of basketball hoops and conversion of two floors of vacant areas into usable space will bring
the 16,000 square-foot facility to its full capacity and make room for more participants.

“With Building on Hope’s support, MPAL is presented with an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a
lasting difference in the lives of at-risk youth,” said Manchester Police Lieutenant Brian O’Keefe,
president of the MPAL board of directors. “There are about 8,600 youth living within a mile of MPAL –
one-fourth of them minorities and one-third living below the poverty line. With new space and
improved facilities, we can continue to build trust between law enforcement and young people,
contribute to making stronger communities, and stop problems before they start.”

Recent national events have shown how important the relationship between police officers and young
people, especially minorities, is for any community. Through MPAL, Manchester Police Department has
shown its dedication to the city’s youth. About 50 volunteers, including coaches from the Manchester
Police Department, the board of directors and the program coordinator keep MPAL running each week.
Research shows that positive after-school environments like MPAL decrease at-risk behavior and
promote healthy relationships for the young people who participate.

Every two years, Building on Hope selects a New Hampshire nonprofit to receive improvements and
repairs completed by volunteers. Over the course of one week, volunteers offering various skills come
together to turn the dreams of deserving nonprofits into reality. Past projects include an Easter Seals NH
residential treatment facility in Manchester, Girls Inc. in Manchester and Opportunity Networks of
Amherst.

“Building on Hope is driven by generous volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to their
community. Our past projects will benefit New Hampshire for years to come by allowing these
nonprofits to continue to expand their incredible work,” said Karen Van Der Beken, co-chair of Building
on Hope. “I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of our next project than the Manchester Police
Athletic League. We are so excited to see an updated facility that reflects the energy and dedication of
MPAL volunteers.”

Building on Hope and MPAL are seeking out help from the community to complete this project. Tax-
deductible contributions, volunteer commitments or donation of materials are essential to completing
this project. For more information or to make a donation visit www.buildingonhope.com.

Photo Captions: Interior and exterior photos of the Manchester Police Athletic League in
Manchester, NH.
MPAL