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Watts track team to compete in Junior National Olympics

July 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A group of young children from Watts is set to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

They're members of an inner-city track team preparing to compete in the Junior National Olympics in New Orleans.

"I want to be a doctor, a teacher and a coach," said 7-year-old Saniya Abubakar.

"I like to go on an airplane and I like to do running," said Aniyah Moore. "I want to teach people how to run and go fast."

For this group of kids in Watts, running has solidified dreams, wishes and goals.

"It's a great way to blow off steam because when you're angry, you want to take out your anger on someone," said 12-year-old Alonzo Davis. "But instead you can just run a few laps and calm yourself down."

The Jaguars Youth Track Club is the vision of their coach, Noel Weiss, who rallied the community and got permission from Locke High School to use the track.

Weiss is hoping to expand the program and form a league for inner-city kids. The team itself is only a couple months old, and was made possible through the community and the Police Athletic League.

"The idea is to teach the kids, as we have our team motto, 'doing what you don't want to do that's worthwhile makes you happy,'" said Weiss. "They're basically challenging themselves. They're confronting their own limitations and trying to overcome them."

The young team has already qualified to compete in New Orleans in the national AAU Track Championships.

In an area riddled with gang violence and drugs, it may be the ingredient they need to carry that success over to other facets of their lives.

"It's really just about shoving the ball and having fun," said 8-year-old Kenneth Mackey who competes in shot-put. "It's not all about winning. It's just about having fun."

"It's very satisfying to try to deliver back," said Weiss. "We can't change the world, but maybe we can change a little bit of our world."

To donate to the Jaguars Youth Track Club:
Make checks payable to "Southeast PAL Track and Field"
145 W. 108th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90061
Attention Community Relations Office PAL

All donations are tax deductable through the PAL Program, which is an official 501(c)3, Tax ID no. 27-2367499.

For more information about the program and how you can donate, contact Officer Derek Kosloski at (714) 493-8100 or send him an email at 36858@lapd.lacity.org.

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