KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In 2022, the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Athletic League helped more than 106 teenagers get their driver's license at no cost.
Students spend time studying in classes with hours of drive time through a program the PAL puts on.
This service is dedicated to KCK students that need help going places.
On Tuesday, there was a surprise to one deserving teenager.
“Since you’re a past student, we want you to check out the new car,” said Karl Oakman, KCK Police Chief.
Oakman wanted Yulisa Arreola-Campos, 18, to sit in a car that was gifted to the KCK PAL.
“This actually is not the drivers-ed vehicle — this is your car, Merry Christmas,” Oakman told Arreola-Campos.
Arreola-Campos was shocked by the gift.
“For real, are you serious?” Arreola-Campos said. “Thank you so much, you’re not serious?”
The KCK PAL gifted her this car, because they know she’s going places.
“She helps raise her siblings, she gets them to school, she works 30 hours a week to support the family, there is no one who works harder than she did, no one else deserves this,” said Matt Tomasic, the KCK PAL Director.
Arreola-Campos spoke about the impact the program has had on her life.
“I wanted to be a part of this program in the beginning because I taught myself how to drive,” she said. “I figured I want to do things the right way; I already had issues, I had tickets and I was starting off bad.”
Arreola-Campos was pulled over when she was getting medicine for her little sister.
She didn’t have an ID.
“I was driving down Minnesota Avenue and I got a ticket,” she said.
Tomasic said the PAL was there to support Arreola-Campos after she got the ticket.
“We helped her through the court process, it was arduous, it was expensive (and) it took us over a week,” Tomasic said. “You’re talking about police officers who work in this system every day. None of us had any idea how difficult it is to go through that process.”
It was a gift for a teenager whose life is really going places.
“Its crazy down here where we live at, we don’t have many resources like other kids do. The Pal is our resources, they are our second family — they are my second family,” she said. “They’ve helped us out so much, I would not be the person I am today.”
Eleven out of the 106 students had prior tickets before coming into the classroom to be educated and receive a license.