ELIZABETH, NJ—A local, long-standing program in Elizabeth has the opportunity to compete in the 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition in Orlando and they are seeking donations from the community to make it happen.

The Football and Cheer Program is a part of PAL (Police Athletic League). Elizabeth PAL was started in 1947 by a group of caring police officers that wanted to make a difference in the city. The goal then was to "Prevent Juvenile Delinquency". Today over 65 years later they maintain the same objective and programs like the football and cheer teams support that mission according to officials.

Wanda Martinez, coach and Director of Cheer for the team says, “the program helps children and young people to develop new abilities and skills, self-esteem, confidence and a sense of purpose and identity.”

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“The team helps the children learn how to bond on and off the field, which in turn improves stability in their lives. They can have a healthy lifestyle as they grow older, and have some fun along the way.  We need to keep these children safe in our community,” she added.

“The Elizabeth Jr. Minutemen Football and Cheer program has provided many children in our community with a recreational program. This program is to encourage children and young people to participate regularly in communicating and sports activities that they enjoy,” Martinez, said.

Over the years the team has been successful in competition. The children and coaches work and practice to the best of their abilities.  They dedicate their time practicing and playing hard. The hard work paid off and they brought home three trophies. Last year, the Elizabeth Jr. Minutemen cheerleaders Varsity and Jr. Pee-Wee teams won first place and second place in the 2016 North Jersey Competition. The Mitey-Mites team made it to 2016 Nationals Competition according to Martinez.

This year, the Varsity and Pee-Wee teams have placed among the top teams. They took first place for both teams during the 2017 North Jersey Competition. The Varsity Team competed at the Eastern Region Competition and took second place according to program officials.

They will be going to the National Competition with the Tiny Mites who were nominated to take part in 2017 National Cheer & Dance Competition in Disney in Orlando, FL.

Their goal is to raise $30,000 for travel expenses, lodging, meals and competition fees.

According to Martinez, “studies have shown that children who participate in sports are more likely to succeed as adults and we hope to give our children this advantage in life.”

“We hope you will join us this year in reaching our goal. Martinez said. A donation can be made by sending a check or visiting their GoFundMe page at https://dm2.gofund.me/elizabeth-jr-minutemen, she added."

For more information, email wmartinez531@verizon.net, or call (201) 687-1875. 


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